2016 Spirit of the West

Martin Grelle

Martin Grelle, one of the top western artists in the country, will be honored by the Festival of Arts 2016 with their Spirit of the West award. His relationship with the Festival began in 1977 when he exhibited his work in the first seven years of their western themed shows. Therefore, it is a fitting tribute that after 33 years, the Festival celebrates their 40th Anniversary with Martin Grelle from a fledgling artist to his brilliant rise in the art world.

Martin Grelle is a listed artist with work selling in some of the top auction houses and galleries around the country. His work captures the spirit, beauty, and vastness of the West in his historically accurate, compelling images. His art portrays the diverse cultures of the American West with sensitivity, but it is his thorough research and experience as a horseman that sets his work above the rest. Much of Grelle’s research includes visiting with experts on American Indian culture, visiting re-enactors, and by his own personal experiences on ranches that help him achieve his vision of the old west.

Grelle lives in Clifton, Texas, which has become a mecca for artists because of its beauty and history. He works hard and carefully considers critiques of his work from fellow artists. This includes the early direction from acclaimed western artists, James Boren and Melvin Warren. As it happens, both these important artists moved close to where Grelle had been living and he was able to study with these two luminaries of Western themed art.

Grelle is one of the youngest members of the Cowboy Artists of America. Through the years, he has won numerous national and regional awards including the CAA People’s Choice Award in 2002 and the Ray Swanson Memorial Award in 2008. He was part of the Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition and Sale at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, the Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition & Sale at the Autry National Center, and the inaugural Quest for the West Exhibition & Sale at the Eiteljorg Museum. Awards of merit include the Prix de West Purchase Award, which he won in 2002 for his painting Teller of Tales, and again in 2005, for his painting Two Coups, making him one of only six artists to have won the top award twice. Grelle has also won twice the Nona Jean Hulsey Ramsey Buyer’s Choice Award at Prix de West, first in 2004 with Signs Along the Snake, and again in 2006, for Dust in the Distance.

The artist is represented by Overland Gallery of Fine Art in Scottsdale, Arizona, where a one-man show is held for Grelle each March. The 2008 show marked Grelle’s 20th anniversary one-man show with the gallery.

Publications in which Martin Grelle has been featured are: Art of the West, Western Art Collector, Southwest Art, Western Art & Architecture, Persimmon Hill, American Cowboy, Western Horseman, Wild West, and InformArt. His work has also been showcased on the covers of many of these publications.