George Dabich was born in 1922 in East Los Angeles, CA. Shortly he moved to be with his father in Alberhill, CA where he grew up. George was discharged from the Navy in 1945 after having two ships blown out from under him and returned to Alberhill.
Jobs were scarce in those parts in 1946, so Dabich joined a friend heading off to Wyoming. Being that his friend was a gambler, they ended up in Cook City, Montana, which was a wide-open town then, where George took a job as a wrangler. After the wrangling job fell through, Dabich headed over to Cody, Wyoming where he took a job as a guide for an outfitting company.
It was Dabich’s guiding career that ultimately shaped his life as an artist and family man. On a hunt one morning in 1958, he went out to retrieve a couple of picketed horses. Not wanting to walk the horses back the half mile to camp he swung up on one of the horses bareback not knowing he was a bucker. Shortly Dabich flew over the horse’s head landing on the ground in front of him. As the horse continued to buck, it lost it’s balance and fell on him breaking Dabich’s leg. Having no place to recover he was taken in by his girlfriend whom he soon married. To combat the boredom of recovery he took up sketching and painting. “Breaking that leg was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Dabich said.
A local restaurateur, Junior Kousolos, discovered some of Dabich’s work in the trash and sold them to Senator Alan Simpson’s farther, Milward, then Wyoming’s governor, for $60.00 giving the cash to Dabich. Dabich had his first sale, and the artwork remains in the Simpson family cabin ‘till this day. Kousolos soon opened an art gallery next door to his restaurant representing the artwork of Dabich, Bob Meyers and a resent arrival in Cody, Nick Eggenhofer. Dabich and Eggenhofer soon became fast friends and fishing buddies – although Dabich never had formal art lessons he learned immeasurably by watching Eggenhofer work.
At the time of this writing Dabich is 87 years old, still painting, sometimes sculpting and doing some of his best work. He paints what he knows and his art is wonderfully detailed and accurate – a product of his intimacy with the wilderness and ranching gained through his many years of guiding and wrangling. Dabich’s animals, besides being accurately illustrated, exhibit the critter’s personality and reaction to specific situations. This ability is only achieved through real life experience.
George Dabich passed away on April 22, 2013.
Source: Hy-Trading Western Art, Colorado Springs, Colorado