Curtis Zabel (17)
Knox Galleries - Denver, Beaver Creek, Harbor Springs - Curtis Zabel - Hideaway
CURTIS ZABEL CATALOG PDF
There was a time early in Curtis Zabel's
career when he
might someday be forced to choose between his
two lifelong passions-ranching and art.
But the two have become so intertwined over the years, his
worries eventually evaporated with the unmitigated success of both.
But it is the authenticity of Zabel's
own bronze sculpture that has earned him numerous awards and enthusiastic following among connoisseurs of Western art.
Born in Athol, Kansas, Zabel moved to Routt County when he was two years old, and grew up around work-teams, cattle, horses and abundant wildlife in the surrounding mountains.
He was a prolific artist from earliest childhood, and a prize-winning painter by the time he graduated from high school in Hayden.
was gaining stature as a painter when a friend sent him some beeswax to sculpt with, and Zabel
immediately became hooked.
first bronze of a cowboy on a horse sold out the edition of ten in two weeks, much to the artist's amazement, and set a precedence for many of his
editions over the next twenty years.
discovery of this tactile new medium allowed him so much greater expression in translating his
life into art, he
embraced with an enthusiasm that remains undimmed today.
Initially, ranching supported his
art and his
But now, with sons Ty and Kirk grown and with families of their own, Zabel
wife Shirley find the art business dominates.
They have downsized their herd of Texas longhorns to five "pets," as they fondly refer to them, and leased out some of their pasture.
Nonetheless, each winter morning, Zabel
still hitches up his
work-team to feed his
cattle and horses.
And although he
finds winters in the Yampa Valley to be long and cold, it also is the ideal time to get a lot of work done inside the warmth of his
contemporary studio adjacent to the house.
talks about his
admiration for the breed is obvious: "I like the longhorn for the same reason a person likes to buy Western art-it's part of our Western heritage that is disappearing.
But perhaps his
greatest love is for horses, of which he
still keeps ten.
"I like a muscled horse," he
says with a smile, pointing out detail in the flank and legs of a nearby sculpture.
Knowledge of his
subject matter-from wildlife to horses, to cattle to working cowboys-is so thorough, Zabel
translates it into subtle and sometimes humorous detail.
In addition to his
considerable talents, Zabel's
soft spoken friendliness and genuine modesty are widely admired in his
circle of artists, collectors and friends.
For the last several years, Zabel
has ridden with the Round-Up Riders of the Rockies
, a group of professionals from all over the country who gather in Colorado for a week long ride each July, inviting a sharing and camaraderie that Zabel
finds most satisfying.
strives to be a perfectionist.