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



Alexander Phimister

Alexander Phimister Proctor was born in Ontario Canada in 1862 to second-generation pioneers. In the spring of 1871 the family moved to Denver, Colorado with the hope of prosperity. Exploring the Colorado Rockies with his father, Proctor developed a permanent interest in wildlife. Through studying and sketching specimens he developed a deep visual understanding of their artistic merits.


Proctor moved to New York in 1885 where he enrolled at the National Academy of Design and the Art Student's League. In 1887 he met the sculptor John Rodgers and under his tutelage took up the modeling of wild animals seriously.  After several years of winter studies in New York and summer adventures in the mountains of Washington and Colorado, Proctor's plans were to return to New York.  On his return he was intercepted by a telegram from Chicago inviting him there for what was to be his greatest opportunity.


In 1891 he arrived in Chicago to begin his newly commissioned work for the World's Colombian Exposition that was to open in 1893. He sculpted thirty-five life-size animals depicting those he hunted and studied in his mountain adventures. He also created two enormous equestrian sculptures. The work brought Proctor into the international spotlight and financial stability.  Seeking a more formal education he moved to Paris for a year and studied at the Julien Academy under the tutelage of Denys Puech. There his work won the admiration of Parisian art critics and Augustas Saint-Gauden. Returning to the states, he began work on sculptures of General Logan and General Sherman for Saint-Gauden.  In 1896 Proctor received the Rinehart Scholarship and was back in Paris for three years of study.  His bronzes Stalking Panther and The Indian Warrior were exhibited at the Paris Exposition of Nineteen hundred and won him the Gold Medal.  Proctor had as many commissions as he could handle.  He often was overlapping them to satisfy his demand. Over the course of his life he created a prodigious amount of art. His enthusiasm and love of life is seen in all his sculptures that can be found across the states and around the world.

(1862 - 1950)

Back to Inventory

133 East Main Street

Bozeman, Montana 59715

 phone: 406.586.3636