Back to the Artist Page

Theodore Waddell Biography

Theodore Waddell

Born: Montana, 1941

The heart and hand needed to create a strong American painting is not limited to those living east of the Mississippi. It is a product of endless work, self-evaluation, and the courage to allow one’s paintings to evolve. It demands the marriage of the artist’s lifestyle and his work. Theodore Waddell exemplifies this definition. His enthusiasm and lifestyle are reflected in the way he works and the imagery he uses.

Waddell’s paintings are a combination of rough marks; thick paint; transparent elegant strokes; and, on a few occasions a slow, hard line scratched into the canvas. You can feel the movement of the paint throughout the paintings but the subjects are frozen. They are not frozen as a stagnant object but captured as a solitary image. Captured, interpreted and enveloped in the landscape. They are carved out of, or laid onto the green and grey-yellow of the spring and summer, or the white canopy of winter. And sometimes there are ghosts in the paintings, the faint image of what has changed in the piece or decays in the pasture. These ghosts refer to Waddell’s interest in life and death and our own mortality. They are metaphors for the struggle and change that is constant in life. In his artist’s statement he says, “The understanding of death brings about a feeling of wonderfulness and appreciation of life and just how fragile and magical it all is.”

Whether Waddell is studying the changing seasons, animals as individuals, or the later figures, one can see his magic in his reverence for nature and celebration of paint. He is a painter’s painter: strong hearted, sure handed and high spirited.

Therefore, if I must categorize Waddell, he will live in the ranks of American painters and not be limited to the confines of the western artist.

Jennifer Complo McNutt
Curator of Contemporary Art
Eiteljorg Museum
1968 M.F.A. - Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
1966 B.S. - Montana State University, Billings, MT
1962 Brooklyn Museum Art School, Brooklyn, NY


Apple Computer, Inc., Saratoga, California
Arco Corporation, Los Angeles California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Bank of America, San Francisco, California
Boise Art Museum, Boise, Idaho
Buffalo Bill Historical Museum, Cody, Wyoming
Carnation Company, Los Angeles, California
Cheney Cowles Museum, Spokane, Washington
Citadel Corporation, Scottsdale, Arizona
Clorox Corporation, San Francisco, California
Custer County Art Center, Miles City, Montana
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas
Dennos Museum, Traverse City, Michigan
Denver Museum of Art, Denver, Colorado
Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis, Indiana
El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas
Federal Reserve Bank, Minneapolis Minnesota and Helena, Montana
First Interstate Bank, Las Vegas, Nevada
Frederick R. Weisman Company, Los Angeles, California
Frito-Lay Corporation, Dallas, Texas
Goddard Center for Performing and Visual Arts, Ardmore, Oklahoma
Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington
Hallmark Art Collection, Kansas City, Missouri
Hallmark Corporation, Kansas City, Missouri
Harrah's Enterprises, Reno, Nevada
Hockaday Art Center, Kalispell, Montana
Holter Museum, Helena, Montana
International Business Machines
Kohler Art Center, Sheyboygan, Wisconsin
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
Marriot Corporation, San Antonio, Texas
Merck Corporation, West Point, Pennsylvania
Michener Collection, Austin, Texas
Missoula Museum of the Arts, Missoula, Montana
Mobil Oil, New York, New York
Mulvane Art Museum, Topeka, Kansas
Nestles Corporation, Los Angeles, California
Nicolaysen Museum, Casper, Wyoming
Nordstrom, Seattle, Washington
North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, North Dakota
North Dakota State University Memorial Union Gallery, Fargo, North Dakota
Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona
Oats Park Art Center, Fallon, Nevada
Omaha National Bank, Omaha, Nebraska
Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, Great Falls, Montana
Palm Desert Museum, Palm Springs, California
Pillsbury Corporation, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Progressive Corporation, Pepper Pike, Ohio
Rayovac Corporation, Madison, Wisconsin
Robert Redford
Rocky Mountain College, Billings, Montana
Safeco, Seattle, Washington
San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, California
Security Pacific Bank, Los Angeles, California
Sheldon Memorial Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska
Sierra Pacific Power, Reno, Nevada
Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, Kansas
Springfield Art Museum
Stanford University Hospital, Stanford, California
Ringo Starr
Topeka Public Library, Topeka, Kansas
United Airlines, Chicago, Illinois
United Missouri Bank, Kansas City, Missouri
University Hospital, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
University of Kansas, School of Arts, Lawrence, Kansas
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
University of North Dakota, Fargo, North Dakota
University of Texas, Austin, Texas
University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming
Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, Montana