Howard Terpning (born November 5, 1927) is an American painter and illustrator best known for his paintings of Native Americans. Terpning was born in Oak Park, Illinois. His mother was an interior decorator, and his father worked for the railroad. He grew up in the Midwest living in Iowa, Missouri and Texas as well as Illinois. As a boy he liked to draw and knew by the age of seven that he wanted to be an artist. At age 15, he became fascinated with the West and Native Americans when he spent the summer camping and fishing with a cousin near Durango, Colorado. When he turned 17, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and served from 1945 through 1946. He was stationed in China for nine months. After leaving the Marines he enrolled at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in their two-year commercial art program using the G.I. Bill to pay his tuition. To further his study he attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago for six months where he honed his life drawing and painting skills. Around 1974, Terpning began to tire of commercial work and decided to follow his interest in the American West and Plains Indians. Consequently, he began to transition into fine art by creating paintings and selling them in Western galleries. The first paintings sold for $2,000 to $2,500. After three years, he left Connecticut and the commercial art world and moved to Arizona to devote himself entirely to painting the American West. Within two years he was elected to both the National Academy of Western Art and the Cowboy Artists of America (CA). In the 22 years he was an active member of the CAA, Terpning earned 42 awards for his work. In 1985, Terpning was honored with a retrospective at the Gilcrease Museum with 38 original works on display. His work has also been displayed in Peking, China, and the Grand Palais in Paris.
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