Paul Sample Western Landscape, 1930–38
horses beneath a bare tree with a collection of houses and mountains in the background
Paul Sample
Western Landscape, 1930–38
Oil on canvas, 30 ⅛  x 18 ¼  inches


Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, Grant Wood, and Paul Sample forged a new vision for American painting in the 1930s and 1940s. American Scene Painting (or Regionalism, as the movement was also called) sought to shake off the influence of art that its practitioners considered esoteric, intellectual, abstract, and centered in Europe. Instead, Regionalists found the humble routines and love of land in the rural Midwest a more satisfying subject. Paul Sample expresses these themes in Western Landscape through an idealized depiction of a Western vista. Even the muted colors convey peacefulness, which, Sample suggests, is possible through contact with the land.


Paul Sample was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and decided to become a painter at age twenty-five. He moved to California in 1925 to study with Stanton Macdonald-Wright, then taught painting at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He left California in 1938 to become artist in residence at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where he remained until his retirement.