Thomas Nygard Gallery - 19th and 20th Century American Art



E. William "Bill"

When still very young, Gollings was sent from his birthplace in Idaho to live with his grandmother in Michigan.  From there he was sent to Chicago for his education. As a young boy Gollings had visited family in Lewiston, Idaho and saw sights of the vanishing west.  His young mind absorbed these scenes, visions of buffalo, Indians and trains traveling through open landscapes consumed his imagination.  His lingering and overpowering ambition was to return to the West.  In 1896, Gollings saved enough money to buy a train ticket out of Chicago headed for the West.  Upon landing in South Dakota, Gollings worked his way west eventually landing at his brother DeWitt's ranch in Montana. Borrowing a horse he joined other riders on what was termed the "grub trail."  Working odd jobs that paid enough for bed and board, he spent the next five years roaming the open range.  Branding cattle, driving a stage, trapping for furs, and hunting for gold kept Gollings busy and immersed him in a classic western lifestyle.  Gollings, desiring to portray the west in other mediums than sketching material, sent an order into Montgomery Ward and Company for a set of oils and supplies.  His first attempts were well received by family and friends and they urged him to return for a formal art training.


In 1905-06 Gollings returned to Chicago and enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts. During his first year he was awarded a scholarship enabling him to return for a second term the following year.  Chicago was no longer home to this budding artist and he craved to return to his beloved west.  Returning to Sheridan, Wyoming he had a studio built and eventually made the town his home.


During his career Gollings was fortunate to meet several of his great contemporaries.  He found encouragement from Will James, Ed Borein, C. Russell, Joe D. Young, W.H.D. Koerner, and Joseph Henry Sharp.  It was his eventual friend Sharp who guided Gollings and influenced his work so greatly.

(1878 - 1932)

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Bozeman, Montana 59715

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