“Dude” Larsen and The Rodeo – 1940

Lewis H. Larsen was one of the most successful postcard artists of the mid-20th century.

He adopted the moniker, “Dude”, as a sign of his identification with the life of the cowboy and of the West.

Adapting his own canvasses to postcards, self-publishing the cards, and maintaining vigilance about his copyrights, Larsen eliminated all the “middlemen” who reduced the income of many other illustrators.


Larsen fed the huge appetite for Wild West and for cowboy nostalgia of the 1940’s and 1950’s.

The signed postcard drawing, “His First Experience”, depicts a young man learning the “rodeo”.

The image was copyrighted in 1940, about the half-way point in Larsen’s career in postcard art.

On the reverse, the artist makes a brief reference to himself, and adds a stern warning about copyright infringement.

The postcard was not mailed.

Larsen died in 1997 and his work is still collected by those who respond to the allure of the “Old West”.


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