Bill Stockton was many things: artist, sheep rancher, soldier, sign painter, performer, storyteller, husband, father, grandfather, and dyed-in-the-wool Modernist. His deep representation in the YAM’s collection (nearly 100 paintings, drawings, and sculptures) reflects his profound influence on the arts in Montana.
The YAM accepted a few works by Stockton into the collection during the 1970s. In the early 1990s 73 works were added through a purchase funded by Miriam Sample. The first sculpture in the collection, made from welded nails, was accessioned in 2020.
Like Jackson Pollock, one of Stockton’s artistic heroes, his early paintings combine abstraction with the colors and patterns of the Western landscape. He was especially prolific as an artist during the winter, between haying and lambing. This was his time to draw and paint, using livestock markers to remember briers and drifting snow, and the quality of light on cold mornings.