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



Olaf Carl

(1899 - 1988)

Acclaimed by critics as the outstanding contemporary Western artist, Olaf Wieghorst earned these accolades during a lifetime of observing, handling and painting horses and the West.


Olaf was born to Karl and Anna Wieghorst on April 30, 1899, in the village of Viborg, Jutland, Denmark.  He was only 19 years old when he came to New York on December 31, 1918 aboard an old Danish steamer. He had only $1.25 in his pocket and spoke no English. For better or for worse, Olaf had come to America to stay.


Olaf joined the United States Calvary and requested duty on the Mexican border.  This was his dream come true; he was going West!  After the military, Olaf drifted and worked as a cowboy.  “I have been observing horses for so many years that I guess I’ve begun to think like one.  That’s what I mean when I say that the horse has been my greatest teacher.  Horses have been my companions under nearly all possible conditions.”


Here was a man deeply in love with the West and its people and its way of life.  Here was a man possessed with the talent to create on canvas this love.


His paintings are in the great private collections of Western art including those of Clint Murchison, Leonard Firestone, Barry Goldwater, Earl Adams, Sam Campbell, Jack Goodman, Read Mullan, C.R. Smith, Bruce Gelker, Fred Utter as well as The Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas, and the Whitney Gallery, Cody, Wyoming.

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