Theodore Van Soelen was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and initially settled in Albuquerque before moving to Tesuque in 1922. He is known as a major Southwest painter, and for taking part in many of the activities he painted. As cattleman, he roped, branded, and followed the round-up for many years. As an artist, he received wide recognition for his lithographs and was a member of the National Academy of New York.
His lithographs of ranching are, therefore, among the most realistic and dramatic realizations of that subject, and depict a way of life in which wagons and remudas still followed the herd, and men set up itinerant camps in a desolate and seemingly endless landscape of vegas, mesas, and sky.
“Working with the Wagon,” presents the life of these cowboys in a panorama of mesas, while “The Cook” focuses on the camp kitchen, a social center under a tarpaulin on a vast plain.