Theodore Waddell's Abstract Angus Opens May 20

Renowned abstract expressionist’s work depicts life in the American west

(Denver, Colo.) — March 5, 2012 — The Denver Art Museum (DAM) presents 26 works that challenge commonly held perceptions of western American art in Theodore Waddell’s Abstract Angus. Featuring images of cattle against flattened backdrops, Waddell’s images are imbued with subtle movement suggesting the wandering of range animals and the progression of time itself. The exhibition will be on view May 20 through December 2, 2012, in the Gates Family Gallery on level two of the Hamilton Building.

Theodore Waddell, Alder Angus #2, 1991. Oil on canvas.

“Theodore Waddell has successfully coupled fundamentals of the abstract expressionist movement with real subjects,” said Thomas Smith, director of the Petrie Institute of Western American Art at the DAM. “Waddell’s works are a stark contrast to the common notion that all western American art is grounded in the straightforward realism of everyday life in the western states and cowboy themes.”

Included in the exhibition are paintings, sketches and drawings of Angus roaming the vast plains. Heavily textured surfaces and vibrant color mixes bring to life suggestions of cattle scattered on snow covered terrain or grazing on prairies. A large 8-by-28 foot mural created specifically for the exhibition will also be on view. Comprised of four 8-by-7 foot panels, the oil-on-canvas mural was completed over a period of several months in 2011 and 2012.

About Theodore Waddell

A native of Montana, Theodore Waddell arrived in New York City in the early 1960s, a decade after abstract expressionists made headlines in the art world. After learning elements of the abstract movement, Waddell returned home to Montana, working as a cattle rancher and producing works of nearly abstract background that hint at the landscape. In 1984, Waddell’s work was included in the Second Western State Exhibition, garnering him national notice. He has since had more than 90 one-man exhibitions. Retired from ranching, Waddell divides his time between homes in Montana and Idaho.

Theodore Waddell’s Abstract Angus is organized by the Denver Art Museum. The exhibition is funded by generous donors to the Petrie Institute of Western American Art, the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) and the donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign.

The Denver Art Museum is located on 13th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock Streets in downtown Denver. Open Tuesday–Thursday, Saturday–Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.–8 p.m., except the final Friday of the month the museum stays open until 10 p.m. for the Untitled event; closed Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission for Colorado residents: $10 adults, $8 seniors and students. Admission for non-Colorado residents: $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, $5 for visitors aged six to eighteen, free for children under 6. General Museum admission is free the first Saturday of each month, thanks to Target and the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Additional ticket may be required for special exhibitions. For information in Spanish, call 720-913-0169. For more information, call 720-865-5000 or visit

Image credit: Theodore Waddell, Alder Angus #2, 1991. Oil on canvas.