BOOK REVIEW: BY E.M. FREDRIC
Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 10/16/2018 – Accomplished publisher, author and Museum Trustee – William Reynolds brings to life the only protégé of famed cowboy artist, Charles M. Russell with an illuminating first book in portrait of the life and contributions of western artist Joe De Yong – A Life in the West. His meticulous research unveils a richly detailed account of Yong’s life – a rare breed and unique man – by chronicling this Western master with his writings, art and through detailed illustrated letters. The in-depth biography becomes a gift of personalized collections of the American West seen through De Yong’s eyes – a simple man of importance.
This is a grand introduction and beautiful rendition about the life the little-known, totally deaf (De Yong was stricken by cerebro meningitis at age 19) artist who would alter the perceptions in how the country views romance and power of a pre-1900 American West culture. His first and only dream was to become a cowboy and his works are widely seen yet De Yong has remained mostly unknown.
Joe De Yong (1894 – 1975) lived during the golden age of Western art in the last century and Reynold’s book pays homage and superbly chronicles both De Yong’s life and contribution to the celebration and preservation of the American West. He lures the reader in by revealing the breathtaking visual finesse of a rare breed of man – one who suffered and overcame his life’s extreme physical difficulties – by allowing the reader to feel Joe De Yong’s deep love for of the cowboy ways and his love of art. His life is beautifully portrayed by taking the reader on a compelling journey with this diminutive man of grace and dignity.
A compelling, wild ride as De Yong’s mesmerizing portrait series of bucking broncos takes you atop–1200 – 1500 pounds of untrained horse – twisting non-stop beneath the cowboy. If you’ve never been to a rodeo these pieces illustrate the thrill and excitement with spectacular seconds frozen in time. Joe captures the cowboys’ grit but poetic finesse in motion. The book displays an array of images and sculptures that harkens back to the roots of western culture and forever leaves a historical landmine of life as De Yong experienced and visualized it. Joe died in Los Angeles, CA in 1975 but left behind an important contribution to the art and culture of the American West.
It would be a young Joe De Yong that worked on ranches and his love of anything horses and the cowboy ways were ingrained early. It was during his opportunity to work on a few classic western films that he met silent-screen hero, Tom Mix – when De Yong became deaf. He began corresponding with the great western artist Charles M. Russell – a life altering series of events placed him in Russell’s studio for ten years until Russell died in 1926 but his career had begun through the assistance of both Charles and his wife, Nancy Russell.
This astounding artist whose early life in “Indian territory” near Dewey, Oklahoma went on to become an important influence for numerous important and celebrated western artists.
Buy the hardcover – this is a collector’s dream and will sate even the appetite of the novice by gifting them with the authenticity of who the American cowboy and American West was through Joe De Yong’s legacy. The book also includes images and documents from private collectors as well as from the permanent collections of major Western museums.
More De Yong: http://www.artnet.com/artists/joe-de-yong/
Alamar Media/September 2018 – JOE DE YONG: A LIFE IN THE WEST
By William Reynolds
Alamar Media/September 2018