James Boren

(1921 - 1990)


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James Boren

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A noted watercolor painter of western scenes, James Boren and his work have served the cause of introducing art to a broad audience of people who were once intimidated by an elite art establishment. There is nothing pedantic about Boren, an open, honest man, and these qualities are reflected in how work.

Boren was born in Waxahatchie, Texas, the son of a minister. He lived most of his life in Clifton, Texas. He was named Texas State Artist of the Year, and as a member of the Cowboy Artists of America, he won the gold medal in watercolor, seven times.

Although Boren knew as a teenager that he wanted to be an illustrator, his schooling at Southwestern College was interrupted by four years of military service in the Marines. He received a master’s degree in fine art from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1951. He taught art for a while and with his earnings, he then spent two years traveling in Alaska and painting landscapes that he had never imagined during his boyhood in a small Texas town. Boren continued to develop his technique in the favored medium of watercolor in Denver, Colorado while also doing commercial art work.

In 1959, Boren began selling cowboy paintings, and in 1965 he became the first art-director of the newly opened National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. He loved that job because he was able to meet so many of the artists he admired. He first exhibited there in 1969, having become a full-time fine art painter the year before. At his first exhibit, Boren sold thirty-eight of the forty paintings, and this success gave him the confidence to remain a full-time painter.

Boren was given membership in the Cowboy Artists of America. This young association of western artists exhibited annually at the Cowboy Hall, until finally moving to Phoenix, Arizona.