A painter of the Westerner today, particularly Indians, Jacob was born in Elizabethton, Tennessee in 1938 and has been living in Denver since 1966. “My goal in drawing,” he states,” is to describe the subject accurately and expressively with a minimum of means. I work quickly. I have a strong tendency to put things down simply. I just can’t seem to work slow.” A dealer described his technique as “Ned draws the way other people talk.” A painter asserted that Jacob’s work “makes a strong first impression. He hits you as hard as he can.”
After growing up in New Jersey, Jacob hitchhiked to Montana with $50 and a high school diploma. He had worked as a guide and as a trading post clerk when he met the painter Ace Powell who taught him art fundamentals. Without funds, Jacob lived with the Blackfeet until he hitched to Taos in 1961 because he was impressed with Nicolai Fechin’s colors. Bettina Steinke taught him drawing, A.D. Greer advised on colors, Robert Lougheed took him on field trips, and a circle of other young painters offered support. By 1966, Jacob’s skills had matured.
His practice in painting is to make a small color sketch for each work because “If it’s a small painting and you find a problem, it’s a small problem.” In Denver, friends gather in Jacob’s loft where he says, “I’m the mouthpeice.” He has gone to Spain, Russia, Morocco, and the South Seas to study and sketch and been featured in American Artist, and twice in Persimmon Hill and Southwest Art. Elected to membership in both the Cowboy Artists of America and the National Academy of Western Art, he quit both because he doesn’t believe in competition with his peers.
Resource: Contemporary Western Artists, by Peggy and Harold Samuels 1982, Judd’s Inc., Washington, D.C.