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Salt Fork of the Red River

by Robert Gartland

Watercolor on paper
Dimensions: 21 x 29
Purchased through a National Endowment for the Arts grant, 1975

Salt Fork of the Red River by Robert Gartland

The Artwork

The Salt Fork of the Red River flows southeast from the Texas Panhandle before entering Oklahoma where it crosses the counties of Harmon and Greer before turning south near Mangum and entering Jackson County. Through the use of dark hues and a transparent application of watercolor, the artist conveys an atmosphere which seems both cool and humid as if a storm had just passed.

The Artist

Robert Gartland was born in Mount Vernon, New York, and raised in Yonkers. He studied animal husbandry at New York State University in his pursuit to become a veterinarian but later joined the Art Students League of New York City where he studied painting with George Ford Norris. In the early 1950s, he began his career as an artist and became the illustrator for the American Museum of Natural History in New York. During this time at the museum, he also received several freelance art assignments which provided him the means to travel including a trip to Spain that lasted 16 months. In the late 1950s, he drove through Oklahoma taking photographs of buffalo and longhorns to use as models for his paintings. In 1968, he moved to Lawton, Oklahoma, following the suggestion of Marvin Tong, director of the Museum of the Great Plains. Lawton provided Gartland both the landscape he was looking for and the proximity to metropolitan areas. Upon his arrival, he held his first Oklahoma exhibition at the Museum of the Great Plains. Gartland won more than 100 awards for his artwork, and his work is included in more than 400 private collections. Garland illustrated several books for adults and children. He held one-man shows and entered competitions around the world. His work has been exhibited in Mexico, Cuba, Columbia, Canada, across Europe and the United States.