Art of the American West

Fred Oldfield

American/Washington (b.1918)


Fred V. Oldfield was born in Alfalfa, Washington (1918 – ) and grew up as a cowhand near Toppenish, Washington on the Yakama Indian Reservation. His days as a cowboy serve as inspiration in much of his western art.

Fred has strong ties with Toppenish and the “rez” (reservation). Billed as the “City of Murals”, Toppenish is where some very large outdoor murals boast Fred’s autograph. One such mural spanning over 100 feet in width delineates Haller’s Defeat, a battle the local Natives won. The City of Toppenish has actively preserved its cultural diversity and fascinating history as a rugged western town with ongoing restoration and beautification measures. The city’s 70+ murals, primarily done in a western-storytelling style, are a display of community pride that includes Oldfield as an honored part of that ongoing history.

On March 18, 2003, the City of Puyallup, the City of Federal Way and Pierce County celebrated Fred’s 85th birthday and proclaimed it “Fred Oldfield Day”. It was simultaneously proclaimed “Fred Oldfield Day” by Gary Locke, Governor of the state of Washington, where the entire Senate rose to give Fred a standing ovation for his contributions to the region and humanity.[2]

A public television series Painting the West with Fred Oldfield was created for premiere April 2007. At least one cowboy song and six books have been written about Fred Oldfield and his art. One of the most detailed books being The Fred Oldfield Book (Cheney, WA: Art of the Northwest, 1981) authored by Jay Moynahan of Spokane.

The Oldfield Center was founded to commemorate and preserve Fred’s contribution to modern art and painting. The Oldfield Center is in the Pallyup Fairgrounds near Seattle Washington. They host various classes and camps. “The Fred Oldfield Western Heritage & Art Center is dedicated to the preservation of his dream of sharing his love of life, his Western Art, and the history of the American West. As an interactive learning center it celebrates and promotes this dream for all generations.”[3]