Formerly an illustrator, Martha Pettigrew has established herself as one of the foremost Western contemporary sculptors. Pettigrew graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and became an illustrator for the Nebraska State Museum. Her background in illustration proved to be invaluable to her when she became a professional sculptor.
Consistently one of the top-selling sculptors in exhibitions, Pettigrew’s work is sought after by institutions, corporations, privately funded sculpture gardens, and many private collectors. Recently, her Beauty of the Harvest was purchased by the Sandia Indian Tribe of Albuquerque, New Mexico, to greet guests of the Sandia Indian Casino.
Featured on the cover of Southwest Art magazine in July 1998, Pettigrew says, “I find the everyday tasks of the native people of the Southwest, especially the women, to be an endless source of inspiration. If I have achieved my goal as a sculptor the viewer will feel an emotional attachment and never tire of seeing the piece. The sculpture may become a source of inspiration in their lives.”
Although known for her portrayals of dignified and serene women performing everyday tasks, Pettigrew is also completely at ease with the horse as a subject for her sculpture. A breeder and owner of Thoroughbred horses for more than twenty years, she finds “the horse an endless source of inspiration in my art. I find it challenging to capture the essence of the animal in a manner in which the viewer will feel the power, grace, and intelligence that has made the horse a favorite subject of artists since early man painted on cave walls. It is my hope that the sculpture will become a source of inspiration to those viewing it.”
Pettigrew is the recipient of many prestigious awards including Best of Show at the Western Spirit Art Show at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the George Phippen Memorial Foundation Award from the Phippen Western Art Show in Prescott, Arizona, the Allied Artists In Memoriam Award from the Allied Artists of America and the Silver Medal from the Knickerbocker Artists U.S.A., both in New York, New York.
Pettigrew’s work is found in major collections including Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York, the J.P. Morgan Company in New York, the Nebraska Racing Hall of Fame in Grand Island, Nebraska, as well as the Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona and the Hilton Hotel and Convention Center in Sedona, Arizona.
Reference: Communication with the artist, artist publication