Western Art News
A new book explores the life and career of Joe De Yong, a littleknown artist who studied under Charles M. Russell.
Even in Western circles, it’s not likely many people have ever heard of Joe De Yong. His works never commanded the same presence or prices as his contemporaries, and because of that he has been lost to the ages. A new book aims to bring him and his work to a new generation.
Joe De Yong — A Life in the West, by William Reynolds, available now through Alamar Media, explores De Yong’s life and career and weaves a fascinating story about his determination and grit in the face of adversity. Born in 1894, De Yong wanted nothing more than to be a cowboy, and later, after meeting silent film star Tom Mix, a Western artist and illustrator. But at the age of 19 he was stricken with cerebral meningitis, leaving him totally deaf. In
1914, during his recuperation, he began a correspondence with Charles M. Russell, who was moved by the De Yong’s passion and talent. In 1916, he would become the only protégé Russell ever had. They were united in art but also the authenticity of the West, which was treasured by both artists.
Through Russell, De Yong would go on to meet other greats such as Edward Borein, Maynard Dixon, Will James and Will Rogers. These introductions would lead De Yong to a meeting with Hollywood director
Cecil B. Demille. Through this association, De Yong would go on to be a significant set illustrator, costume designer and historic consultant on landmark films including Buffalo Bill, The Plainsman, Union Pacific, Red River and the Academy Awardwinning film Shane. Joe De Yong — A Life in the West is told with more than 500 images, as well as hundreds of pages of De Yong’s original personal correspondences. For more information about the book, visit www.alamarmedia.com.
Clockwise from far left:
Studio publicity shot of Joe De Yong at Paramount Studios, 1937.Joe De Yong sketching at Eastons’ Ranch.
Joe De Yong, The Bronco, oil on board