Looking at a Bill Nebeker sculpture gives one an honest and authentic portrayal of the historic American West or contemporary ranch life. Quiet tributes, subtle humor and wry observations underlie Nebeker’s work. His knack for weaving an unobtrusive storyline into a sculpture challenges the unsuspecting viewer, “Oh! Now I get it!” That moment of discovery is at the heart of experiencing and appreciating Bill’s bronzes.
Inspired to begin sculpting in 1964 when he went to an art show by George Phippen, the first President of the Cowboy Artists of America, Bill became a member of the Cowboy Artists of America in 1978. Since then Bill has won Gold and Silver in sculpture, Best of Show and the Phoenix Art Museum Purchase Award, as well as being twice elected President by his fellow artists. His extraordinary talent has been recognized by several cities in Arizona by awarding him several important, larger than life-sized statue commissions, to depict their historic or current honorable citizens. Prescott has his four figure monument “Early Prescott Settlers”, Glendale enjoys his “Territorial Sheriff”, and Phoenix is honored by his “Memorial to Fallen Officers” at the Arizona Department of Public Safety Headquarters. In June of 2006 the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo in Colorado Spring, Colorado unveiled a portrait statue of Robert C. Norris in front of the new Norris/Penrose Events Center. In 2009 Nebeker was honored by the Arizona Historical Society and Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s State Historian, with the Arizona Culturekeeper Award, for his outstanding contributions to the history, art, civic leadership, and entrepreneurial spirit, because of his bronze sculptures enriching several Arizona cities.
Raised in Prescott, Arizona since early boyhood, his heart is with ranchers, and outdoorsmen of all cultures past and present. His childhood hobby of whittling horses, dogs, other animals and toys developed without formal instruction into the God given talent he shares today with admirers all over the world.
In the 40 years of his strong and prestigious career, Bill has had stories about his life and work featured in Arizona Highways, Art of the West, Southwest Art, Cowboys and Indians, Western Art Collector, Western Horseman, Horse and Rider, Phoenix Home and Garden and Persimmon Hill. His work is in the collections of the Eiteljorg Museum, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Old West Museum in Cheyenne, Booth Western Art Museum, Museum of Western Art in Kerrville, Phoenix Art Museum, Phippen Museum in Prescott, Palm Spring Desert Museum and Desert Caballeros Museum in Wickenburg. Well as many of the prestigious corporate and personal collections around America.
During roundups in rough-county, some cattle get very savvy about escaping from the cowboys. They get smart and hide out when they see or smell any riders. After a few years the ranch often has five or six, 4 year old bulls, big unbranded calves, wild cows and steers, all who have learned to stay away from the ropes of the ranch hands. Cows, calves and bulls which have not been branded and earmarked are called “Mavericks.”
Edition of 30
*Winner of the James Bowie Award ~ Night of Artists 2016*
Featured at The Brisco - Western Art Museum