Edward Borein and his friends at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Longtime Santa Barbara resident and prolific Western artist, Edward Borein is the subject of two exhibitions currently on display at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. In one wing, spectators can see the museum’s beautifully preserved permanent collection of Borein’s work, along with many artefacts from his life and career, including saddles, a door, and a printing press. A second exhibition dedicated to Borein’s Circle of Friends will be on display in the expansive space of the museum’s main gallery until January 22, 2022. A recognized authority on Borein’s work, Marlene R. Miller, has curated both exhibitions with a close eye on what makes this famous Santa Claus Barbaran such an exemplary figure.

Born and raised in California, Edward Borein arrived in time to witness the last decades of traditional longhorn cattle ranching in the Southwest and Mexico. Adept at drawing from an early age, Borein combined an extraordinary work ethic as an artist with the physical derring-do of an early 20th-century cowboy, or vaquero, as he probably would have preferred to be. calls him. Through long-standing friendships with famous figures such as Will Rogers and Leo Carrillo, and through sheer persistence as a producer of several thousand images of ranch life, Borein rose to prominence as the greatest Western artist of the country after his model Frederic Remington. . Meeting the expectations raised by this line of work meant maintaining an elaborate collection of Western and Indigenous artifacts and participating in activities ranging from authentic cattle races to shows at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West.

In addition to these two fascinating and complementary exhibitions, the Historical Museum has published a beautifully illustrated biography of the artist, Edward Borein: engraved by the West, by art historian B. Byron Price. A catalog for the Borein and his circle of friends exhibition is also available, allowing to savor the curatorial work that has been incorporated into the exhibition for years to come.


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Patrick F. Williams