An Image for the Century

The Calgary Stampede 2009 poster, the artwork of which sold for $135,000 at the Western Art Auction. 

The Calgary Stampede has issued a special invitation to 15 of the most renowned western artists in the world to show-off their talent for the opportunity to create what promises to be one of the most famous images in the history of the Stampede – the art for the 2012 Stampede poster. The poster will be used internationally to invite visitors to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede.

For this special commission, the Stampede has researched the work of numerous well-known western artists, some of whom have been confidentially invited to submit their artwork for consideration and adjudication. The artist will be announced this fall and the 2012 poster will be unveiled at a news conference in early 2011.

“The search is underway for an artist to create the centennial poster – one that exemplifies our western heritage and values, proudly honours our past and builds excitement for our future,” says Mike Casey, vice-chairman, Stampede board of directors, who will lead the search along with the past chair of the Western Showcase committee, Toni Dixon. Casey has challenged the artists to create a centennial icon.  “How will you, our invited artists, capture all the excitement, energy, action, colour and western flavor of this authentic iconic event in a painting?”

Stampede posters have been used as a promotional tool for The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth since 1912. More than 30,000 posters are now printed and distributed across Canada and around the world. In 2012, the poster will take on an even greater historical significance in helping celebrate the Stampede’s centennial. It’s believed this will be one of the most sought after Stampede posters around the world, and it will be the inspiration for authentic souvenirs including belt buckles, t-shirts, jewelry and mugs, just to name a few.

The original artwork will be auctioned at the Western Art Auction held in July, 2012.  Last year, the original artwork for the 2010 poster was sold for $135,000, a Western Art Auction record. Western art has been a component of the Stampede from the very beginning – the first Stampede poster in 1912 featured art by Charlie Russell, and by the early 1930s, regular art exhibitions were part of the Stampede. Since the early 1980s, the Stampede has included a live auction of the best in contemporary and historical western art.

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