« Return to this article

for people who care about the West

‘My Montana’: Depictions that resist Western myths

The works of painter Theodore Waddell, a rancher and Montanan.


Renowned Montana painter and sculptor Theodore Waddell has been producing artwork for more than five decades. Now, writer and critic Rick Newby tells the story of his life and career in thoughtful detail. The book, which includes essays by curators, critics, and writers who know Waddell, seeks to provide both longtime fans and those new to the artist’s work with a deep understanding of the evolution of his career. Ranging over his childhood, his early work, his personal and artistic struggles and more, the book traces Waddell’s influences, from his artistic mentors to his love of jazz.

Waddell’s richly textured, expressionist work, including the “landscapes with animals” he is best known for, is deeply rooted in his home region, but it resists mythologizing the West. As My Montana shows, his art honestly and evocatively reflects his Northern Rockies heritage and his own life as a rancher.

Theodore Waddell: My Montana — Paintings and Sculpture, 1959-2016
By Rick Newby
256 pages, paperback: $29.95; cloth: $45.
University of Oklahoma Press, 2017.