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Olaf Wieghorst

Academy of Achievement

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Olaf Wieghorst
Olaf Wieghorst

Olaf Wieghorst

Academy of Achievement

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Olaf Wieghorst (1899 - 1988) won lasting fame as master painter of the American West, but he was born in Viborg, Denmark, far from the wide open spaces he came to love. From childhood, he dreamed of becoming a cowboy in America. He worked on a horse farm and performed as a stunt rider in European circuses before shipping for the United States at age 19. He served in the U.S. cavalry, patrolling the Mexican border in the years following World War I, then worked as a ranch hand in New Mexico and Arizona, where he began sketching scenes of Western life. He served for 20 years as mounted policeman in New York City, training horses and leading the NYPD equestrian team. With no formal training, he taught himself to paint, creating luminous images of horses and the majestic scenery of the West. He was in his mid-40s when sales of his illustrations enabled him to quit the police force and paint full time. His work has been widely reproduced in books and magazine, the original paintings are prized by collectors from Hollywood's biggest stars to a number of U.S. Presidents. The largest collection of his work can be seen today at the Olaf Wieghorst Museum, located in El Cajon, California, Wieghorst's home for the last 44 years of his life. This audio podcast was recorded at the Academy of Achievement's 1984 Summit in Minneapolis, Minnesota when Wieghorst was 85 years of age. In his address to the Academy's student delegates, he shares the story of his adventurous life and his lifelong love of horses.

Latest Episodes

Olaf Wieghorst

Olaf Wieghorst (1899 - 1988) won lasting fame as master painter of the American West, but he was born in Viborg, Denmark, far from the wide open spaces he came to love. From childhood, he dreamed of becoming a cowboy in America. He worked on a horse farm and performed as a stunt rider in European circuses before shipping for the United States at age 19. He served in the U.S. cavalry, patrolling the Mexican border in the years following World War I, then worked as a ranch hand in New Mexico and Arizona, where he began sketching scenes of Western life. He served for 20 years as mounted policeman in New York City, training horses and leading the NYPD equestrian team. With no formal training, he taught himself to paint, creating luminous images of horses and the majestic scenery of the West. He was in his mid-40s when sales of his illustrations enabled him to quit the police force and paint full time. His work has been widely reproduced in books and magazine, the original paintings are ...

17 MIN1984 JUL 7
Comments
Olaf Wieghorst
the END

Latest Episodes

Olaf Wieghorst

Olaf Wieghorst (1899 - 1988) won lasting fame as master painter of the American West, but he was born in Viborg, Denmark, far from the wide open spaces he came to love. From childhood, he dreamed of becoming a cowboy in America. He worked on a horse farm and performed as a stunt rider in European circuses before shipping for the United States at age 19. He served in the U.S. cavalry, patrolling the Mexican border in the years following World War I, then worked as a ranch hand in New Mexico and Arizona, where he began sketching scenes of Western life. He served for 20 years as mounted policeman in New York City, training horses and leading the NYPD equestrian team. With no formal training, he taught himself to paint, creating luminous images of horses and the majestic scenery of the West. He was in his mid-40s when sales of his illustrations enabled him to quit the police force and paint full time. His work has been widely reproduced in books and magazine, the original paintings are ...

17 MIN1984 JUL 7
Comments
Olaf Wieghorst
the END
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