Eldridge Hardie

For the sportsman art collector who is deeply enriched by his days in the field or on the water, authenticity of mood and action in a painting are crucial. The quarry, the texture of the landscape, the weather, light, and season, the people and dogs, the boats all are familiar and treasured elements. Eldridge Hardie's own bird hunting and fly fishing pursuits, which have taken him from Canada to the Caribbean, the southernmost tip of South America, Scotland and all across this country, are joined with his artistic ability to make sporting moments live in his pictures.

Hardie was born on a small ranch near Boerne, Texas in 1940 and grew up in El Paso. In 1964 he graduated first in his class with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Fine Art at Washington University in Saint Louis. He has made Denver his home since 1966.

In 2002 in a Gray’s Sporting Journal review of his book The Paintings of Eldridge Hardie—Art of a Life in Sport, Christopher Camuto calls the artist "as good as any painter alive in depicting not only the beauty of nature but also the subtle psychological tug in any fishing or hunting scene. Eldridge Hardie gets it."

The Sporting Art of Eldridge Hardie—Paintings of Upland Hunting, Angling, and Watefowling was published in 2019. Of it Hardie says, "I began to feel like it was time to bring together in a new book the work done in those intervening years with what I had done before."

In 2016-2017, the El Paso Museum of Art honored Hardie, a native son of the city, with a retrospective exhibition of his work. He has been the featured artist at the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival and the Southeastern Wildlife Arts Exposition. The Wildlife Experience Museum presented a one man retrospective exhibit of Hardie’s work. The National Bird Dog Museum chose Hardie for its first ever one-man retrospective show. He participated in the Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition and Sale at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and in the Coors National Western Art Show. The National Museum of Wildlife Art, the Gilcrease Museum, the American Museum of Fly Fishing, and the Artists of America Show have included Hardie's work in invitational exhibits. Also, Sporting Classics magazine honored him with its Award of Excellence for Sporting Art, and the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame named him a Legendary Artist. He was the inaugural Trout Unlimited Artist of the Year and was named the Atlantic Salmon Federation Artist of the Year. Ducks Unlimited and the National Wild Turkey Federation have commissioned Hardie to produce limited edition prints for their fund-raising art, and five of his designs have been chosen for the Texas Upland Bird, Wild Turkey and Quail Stamps. His work has appeared frequently in Shooting Sportsman, Gray's Sporting Journal, Fly Fishing in Salt Waters, Double Gun Journal, Sporting Classics, and Pointing Dog Journal. His career has been profiled in Wildlife Art News, Western Art & Architecture, Western Art Collector, and Southwest Art. He has illustrated more than thirty books, among them, José Ortega y Gasset's classic Meditations on Hunting and Michael McIntosh's Shotguns & Shooting, and he has painted covers for two Roderick Haig-Brown books.

In a recent article in Western Art & Architecture, Bubba Wood, the long-time owner of Collectors Covey in Dallas, cites Eldridge's passion for sport as the reason for his success. "Eldridge Hardie is the real deal," says Wood. He explains that it's easy enough to set up a scene with dogs and quail. Any artist could photograph the scene and then turn around and paint it, but only a real expert in the field would know how to bring in the excitement, the lift of the ears of the dogs, and other true elements into the painting. "I know of no sporting artist that has spent more time in the field than El. The authenticity that we sportsmen relate to in his wonderful art reflects those long hours."

Eldridge Hardie carries on the special heritage of artists Winslow Homer, A. B. Frost, Ogden Pleissner, Frank Benson, and A. Lassell Ripley, who intimately knew outdoor sport.

Eldridge Hardie sums up his long career by saying, "I was born to hunt, fish, and make art about these passions."