“It was the days of hair chaps, high-heeled boots, and spurs that jingled when they drug on the ground. All my friends were either cowboys or Indians. I didn’t know any other kind of people,” Bob Scriver said, describing his youth. Those early days would lay the foundation for Scriver’s later success as one of the finest sculptors of the century in the Western genre.
Scriver was born in 1914 in the Blackfeet Reservation town of Browning, Montana. His earliest passion in life was not art, but music. He earned a master’s degree from Vandercook School of Music in Chicago and did postgraduate work at the University of Washington and Northwestern University. After serving in World War II, Scriver opened a taxidermy business in Browning. This work made him more aware of his creative talent and was a catalyst for his future career as a sculptor. “My only problem,” Scriver once said, “is tat it took me half a lifetime to decide what I really wanted to do in life.”
Scriver’s late start as a sculptor, at age forty-six, in no way hindered his success. He was affiliated with the National Sculpture Society, the National Academy of Western Art, and many other art associations. In 1967, just as the public’s interest in Western art was reawakening, Scriver was inducted into the Cowboy Artists of America.
During his long career, Scriver created more than 1,000 sculptures. He was adept at capturing the spirit and essence of rodeo and was also recognized for his classic sculptures of the Blackfoot Indians. He wrote and published several books, including surveys of his own work and a history of the Blackfoot artifacts in his collection. In 1969, in recognition of their high regard, the Blackfoot honored Scriver with the Little Dog Thunder Medicine Pipe. In 1990, he was presented the Governor’s Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts in Montana. Scriver simply wanted people to know that “I did an honest day’s work and that I was honest about what I did.”
Collections: Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Eiteljorg Museum of Art, Montana Historical Society, National Center for American Western Art, Rockwell Museum of Western Art
CAA Member from 1967-1999
Born: August 15, 1914
Education: University of Washington, Northwestern University, North Dakota State Teacher’s College, Vandercook School of Music