It was a century ago this month that the Stetson Hat Company commissioned artist Lon Megargee to create a painting for its advertising that was meant to embody the cowboy ethos of compassion, integrity and respect.
Over the years, the painting of a cowboy using his Stetson hat to share the last drop of water from his canteen with his horse has become a symbol of the brand and has been featured on the exteriors of many of Stetson’s premium hat boxes as well as the liners of its higher-end Western hats.
Now, on the 100th anniversary of that historic piece, the hat company has commissioned three contemporary artists to create their renditions of the artwork, which will be featured on a limited-edition 100th anniversary edition 100X-felt cowboy hat.
The Texas-made hat, which features a 4 ¼-inch cattleman crown and brim, matching felt hatband, a three-piece 10-karat gold buckle accent and a satin commemorative liner, retails for $1,550. Only 100 pieces were made.
The hats will come in a special custom box, accompanied by 8×10 prints of the original painting as well as three new artworks from artists Logan Maxwell Hagege, Thomas Blackshear and Bella McGoldrick.
Hagege opted for a desert environment for his work, noting, “I wanted to pay respect to the original, but also make it my own, so I changed the angle of the cowboy and the horse, and I added some elements that I love about the West: the big skies and clouds and sagebrush and hollyhocks.”
Blackshear, known for his Western portraits of Black cowboys and Native Americans, said that while some of the colors were changed, his portrait remains very true to the spirit of the original.
McGoldrick gave the work a feminine feel by drawing a hat, a worn fringed leather jacket, a rope and bit and cascading water that she applied to the silk lining of her Stetson.