Jack Lee McLean; Western Painter and Artist 1924-2003

WELCOME EVERYONE…to the Jack Lee McLean website. I’m Lynn, and my sister Paula and I created this site to keep alive the memory of our Dad. We continue to celebrate his life and his wide-ranging artistic contributions. Jack was well loved and had many friends who, like us, remember his love of fun and his get-up-and-go spirit. We invite you to submit any stories, knowledge, and memories you have of Jack.


Jack Lee McLean is best known for painting historical scenes of the Old West in Canada and the U.S., but his complete works cover locales from all over the world. He meticulously researched early illustrations and written records to accurately portray the magnificent and romantic era of the Old West for future generations.

Jack’s skill in rendering action and his mastery of light invites you into his paintings to become part of the West – taking a journey through his true-to-life landscapes with the cowboy, the Indian, the packer, and his trademark, the work horse.


Jack liked to say his real studio was the Rocky Mountains. Living, hiking, and skiing in the mountain backcountry provided the experience with the land to portray that same backdrop of the Old West with his heart and keen eye.

Born in 1924 and raised in Vancouver, Jack always loved to sketch. As a young man, he was drawn to painting at the Emily Carr School of Art. He then served in the Royal Canadian Air Force where he continued to develop his art skills by illustrating newsletters and painting murals. One mural graced the mess wall of the Air Force Base in Comox for forty years. It depicted Canada from coast to coast and measured sixty feet long and ten feet high. In 1962, one of his several Mt. Robson paintings was chosen for the cover of the British Columbia telephone book.

British Columbia Telephone Book, 1962

British Columbia Telephone Book, 1962

Throughout Jack’s very successful art career of over fifty years, he accurately documented the historical life of the American and Canadian West in OVER 1500 PAINTINGS. He received substantial worldwide recognition from publishers, museums, galleries, and individuals who purchased his work.
A kind and generous man, he was always willing to help new artists with their technique, taking time to pass his knowledge on. All through his life, Jack generously donated his artwork and time to good causes.

Jack was an avid skier who eagerly anticipated the mountain snows each season. On the evening of December 3, 2003, Dad succumbed to a heart attack after an enjoyable day of downhill skiing with his friends at Grand Targhee.

Jack Lee McLean’s spirit carries on in his paintings. His life’s work, his distinctive style of Western Art, is something that people will continue to enjoy and appreciate, the evocation of an earlier, simpler era.


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Jack Lee McLean; Western Painter and Artist 1924-2003

39 Responses to Biography

  1. hello. Recently a dear friend of mine passed away a left me an amazing signed print of Chief Dan George painted by Mr McLean. i am wondering if the original is in your possession? i would love to see it and know any details of the circumstances around the portrait.

    Thank you.

    • As you are all aware, Jack Lee Mclean was a very talented AND prolific painter. Sadly, but understandably, many if not most of the originals owners are not known. We are always happy to find out who the owners are. Your signed print, you no doubt agree, is”amazing”.

  2. Hello Lynn and Paula,

    You may remember me – we lived two doors away from you on 5th Ave. in Kimberley when we were kids. And of course, you would remember my sister, Lea, who was with you and your family on that tragic day at St. Mary’s Lake.

    I have very clear memories of your dad – he was not only an artist, but I remember that all the furniture you had when you lived in Lois Creek was built by him. He was kind and patient and wonderful with all the neighborhood kids.

    I remember seeing one of his paintings once, in the lobby of a very posh hotel in Calgary (I was in my late teens by then), and at that moment realized with delight that my former neighbor was a “very important artist”.

    I have, over the years searched for all of you on the internet, and have met with some success, but I am so pleased that you have created this site to honor your dad. In doing so, you honor yourselves, as well.

    All the best to you both,


  3. I look for Jack’s work all the time. I have seen his works many places. I will always your dad using Mr. Moe as a model in tour back yard. Mr. Moe was sitting on a saddle on a saw horse. That painting was a great one.

  4. I’ve always loved and admired the pictures Jack McLean painted and a couple hung in the dentist office in Kimberley where I had appointments. I would still love to have one of his paintings hanging in my home as his pictures were outstanding. I’ll bet it is now impossible to even buy any of his paintings….love, love his work…you must be very proud of your dad and his God given talent.

    Dianne LaFreniere

    • the good news is we still have a few “precious”originals…please watch for a new “for sale” page coming soon- John (Lynn’s husband)

      • Hi Lynn & Paula ….

        As you know I have an original (Mt. Assiniboine) painted by Jack away back in 1964.

        I would like to discuss with you the idea of donating it back … but only if I can be reassured that Paula would benefit from the transaction as well as Lynn. Otherwise, I’d be tempted to just drop it off at Paula’s.

        It’s served me well, I’m downsizing, It was bought by folksinging friends in Kimberley and those that are left would be pleased to know it was returned to you both.

        Cheers ..Struan

  5. Jack and his wife took several pictures of myself mounted on our palomino Quarter Horse stallion on the hill across from the old Kimberley Airport in the sixties. I was just a kid then but never forgot it. I have no idea if he ever used any of those pictures in his paintings but to a kid just the possibility that they might be was a big deal.

  6. My sincere sympathies to you both, I didn’t realize he’d passed away, I always loved his paintings, true works of art, I don’t remember you Lynn, but I sure remember Paula, His memory will live on in your hearts and his paintings

  7. Hi Paula,
    I am not sure if you remember me, we lived on Rotary drive, where my dad still lives.
    Your dad did an number of pictures of my Uncle George out at Wasa.
    I always loved his work. Glad to see this site and I know I will visit it often

  8. I have always admired Jack McClean’s paintings. While in Vancouver in the 90’s I was fortunate to have bought one of his works. I admire it every day. I believe he is an important Can/Amer, western artist. From what I can glean from on-line he was a fine man as well as a great artist – no small thing.





  10. Hello Girls, Good on you for producing this site. I knew Jack through his years at Fernie Snow Valley Ski Area in the 70″s. I helped bring building materials up to the home he built up on the meadow at the foot of the Lizard Range, helicopter skied with him at Island Lake long before it became a destination ski area. Also many laughs at the old Griz bar at the day lodge. Always enjoyed him first as a ski friend and especially lately as I worked at the Fernie Arts Station I appreciate Mr. McLean for the fine artist he was. It is a great pleasure to have discouvered this site. Keep up the good work. Dave O’Haire

  11. Hi,

    We have a print of your fathers that has a bear rearing up, roaring with a hunter firing a pistol at it,and his horse is on its side in the snow, with the hunter behind his horse. A fellow on horseback is in the background.

    We have been given this print from my wifes mother. My father in law (Wife’s father) received it as payment from an Indian band for playing fiddle, as he was a metis fiddler (Art Burd).

    What can you tell me about this beautiful print? How many were there made?

    Thank you

    • great picture! our son proudly has a framed version of the print…not sure who has the original. some more prints may be still available.

  12. Hi,
    We are an Central Alberta family that rides daily for work and pleasure. We are lucky enough to have 3 originals of Jacks. They hang very prominently and proudly in our home. They are all Alberta ranch/horse scenes. He was a great painter and captured the countryside, horses and cowboys in our paintings in a special way. It is amazing to watch the paintings come alive as the sunsets, storms or early morning light hit them.

  13. I have a signed print by Jack Lee McLean titled “Rock-a-Bye” that I purchased in 1988. I cannot find an image of it online anywhere. May I please have some more information about this print for my records?
    Thank you.

  14. I recently bought a signed and numbered print by Jack Lee Mclean. It’s title is “Morning Mustang”. It is number 144 of 2500 and it says the original painting is owned by Rose Mclean. Can you tell me any more information about this particular print. I can’t find it anywhere on the internet, only similar works of his. Thank you,

  15. To Lynn and Paula,
    This is a wonderful tribute to your Dad, Jack.
    “Red” and I spent many exciting days powder-skiing with him on the Fernie Ski Hill. We also enjoyed many outings together in the Rockies. We are fortunate to still own 2 original paintings and many framed prints of his work.
    My kind regards to you both.

  16. Hello:

    So happy to find your website in memory of your father. My wife Patty and I own a 20″ X 30″ original of your father’s entitled “Blackfoot In Aspens”…(a Blackfoot Indian on horseback, moving slowly through an aspen forest). It was beautifully framed and hanging in a gallery in Sun Valley, Idaho when we purchased it 25 years ago while on a ski trip. It has been hanging over our fireplace ever since. We absolutely love it. Bless you all for doing this good work.

    Chuck Brassfield

  17. hi i don’t know if you will remember me lynne we met at amy and harrys home in the cheakamus/squamish years ago i’m married to jack gulliman–i would really appreciate it if you or paula or john would e-mail me as we have 53 prints of your dads here thats not counting what we have on our walls we also have 2 originals that your dad gave amy years and years ago and there are no prints of please i hope to hear from you guys thanks

  18. I have a signed artist proof 1/50 by Jack Lee McLean titled “CUT OFF”( shows two cow boys herding cattle in the range) that I purchased in Cranbrook B.C. several years ago I have it in my home and enjoy looking at it every day. It speaks of a simpler time. I cannot find an image of it online anywhere. May I please have some more information about this proof for my records if possible?
    Thank you.

  19. Hi. I have one of Jacks pictures which is an artist proof called CUT OFF 1/ 50 and cannot find any information on it. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks.

  20. Hi Paula and Lynn,
    I was looking at your Dad’s website, I love his paintings.
    What makes I exciting for me is that my sister and I have been putting together on family tree on and we have found that our families are connected . Our mother, Daisy Russell (nee Hollander) , is a cousin to Zelda. Her dad, Jacob Hollander, and Leah Lily are brother and sister. Mom is going to be 90 years old this year. Both her sisters have passed away.
    Are there any books published of your Dads paintings?
    We are really interested hearing from you.
    Roberta and Lorraine

  21. We went to school together. Hastings Elementary.

    Mrs. Nash collected your dad’s art.

    Years later, I realized my employer did too (Dr. Ross McLean) when I babysat his house one New Year’s.

    Hope you are all well!

  22. I have a framed print but it isn’t numbered
    It appears to be on watercolour paper
    Does anyone know anything about this print
    I am wondering why it isn’t numbered

  23. Hello,
    I have a painting titled “Old Wagon, Ash Creek Area, B.C.” that I am going to donate to a charity auction. Is it okay if I use your biography of your father to go along with it? I do not have any idea of what its worth is.
    Thank you,
    Lake George, NY

    • How much did it go for ? That is a very kind gesture. Please see our post on the home page two recently sold paintings that went for about $7000 each.

  24. Coincidentally my name is Jack Lee and I’m an artist of sorts. My style is quite different from my namesake’s. If you would like take a look at some of my paintings I would be pleased to show a few that are on line.

    My latest is called, “Ferguson Burning” and you can see it at…

    It’s meant to be provocative and it’s not a pretty painting, but I paint what I feel and hopefully you will understand my feelings, if you see it.

    There are other paintings of mine featured there on that particular page, but you have to hunt through the story titles to find them.

    Enjoyed the paintings here, Jack Sr. was a true master. Maybe if I live long enough I might be too, but time is not on my side! I’m already 68 and I just started painting (for now its just a hobby).

  25. Hi Lynn and Paula:

    Was so excited to receive those 10 comments on Uncle Jack’s site. I just wanted to tell you that my youngest sister Christine has one of Uncle Jack’s paintings that my Mom & Dad had.

    Chris had it cleaned and appraised and insured. I don’t remember exactly what the scene was but if you want to get ahold of Chris she could tell you all about it.

    I remember it hanging on the wall in the front room in Vancouver. Everyone that ever entered our home when us girls were growing up were always so proud to show our friends the picture and brag about it being our Uncle Jack’s Painting. Everyone that saw it…. Doctors included admired it a lot.

    Keep up the good work girls…you have produced a fantastic site in honour of your Dad and his works. I am very Proud of you both and send my love.

    Hugs love Sharon Maclean Your Cousin. God Bless.

  26. We have an original oil painting of Jack Lee McLean “Checking the Route”. It is beautiful– if anyone could tell me more about it, it’s appraised value etc, we may be interested in selling the piece. Many thanks,

    • recent Jack originals sold for more than $7000. It depends what condition they are in. Check our post on the main page for two such paintings recently sold in Idaho.

  27. I’m so glad I found this site! My Mum had the opportunity of buying “Autumn Wrangler” (or a painting very similar) many years ago but the price was more than she could afford. I have often wished she had bought it. I love horses and the ‘old west’. I grew up during the 50’s and 60’s when Westerns were all the rage on TV so anything portraying the west. If this painting is ever available or a print is available I would love to know. Being born and raised in Vancouver BC it would be wonderful to have a painting by a local artist! I hope you keep this site up and running. I will come back often, just to admire the beautiful paintings.

    • Hello Pamela –
      Thank you for writing. My sister and I love to hear from people who either knew our Dad and/or enjoyed his paintings. What was your Mother’s name?
      Hope you found the paintings for sale section on the website. Recently, two of the paintings sold in Idaho and Wyoming. Let us know if anything there appeals to you.

      My sister is more familiar with the specific names of paintings, so I will forward your letter to her.

  28. Hello there, my name is Josh Mackaben. I lived in Alta,Wyo/Driggs,I’d. when I was in middle school. My father Mac and Jack became fast friends, thus I actually got to know him pretty well over the few years I lived in Alta and Swan Valley, Idaho. My father had a ski business (Powder Traxs) and also fly fishing guide service in the summer on the Snake River. We lived not too far from Jack. We would meet at Targhee often to ski. I remember vividly a few times he invited us over and he would let me watch him paint. Such talent always captured my attention. It was so awesome. He would also share his favorite commics from the paper, I believe The Wizard of Id and Hagar the Horrible were two of his tops. He would save them and give them to my brother and I when we would stop by and bring him a gallon of fresh milk from the dairy accross from our house on our snowmobiles. That actually reminds me of a time we went skiing in the back country by snowmobile. Up towards Targhee but to the right accross the little river/creek that ran alongside the road. I remember clearly as I was the lucky one who got to have all of our skiis attached to my snowmachine, as I got whacked on the head alot that day. So I was the return transport after each run. If I remember right, I think Jack was three pinning it that day. Was a great time! One summer we built a huge display case for my dad’s barbed wire collection. Jack offered to paint a one of a kind piece to add to the display case. It turned out wonderful! It was painted on Wood, custom framed and just so cool. My dad ended up selling his barbed wire collection at one point years later but I kept the painting by Jack as it was a piece of our history as well. Of course my dad always wanted to display it again once he was able to get his Wingshooting Lodge up and running. Unfortunately recent complications from Parkinson’s Disease sent my father on another great adventure.. I actually picked him up from Jackson Hole where he was being cared for by an old friend and brought him back to CA with me. My two daughters came along for the ride and we went back through Driggs on our way back. Surprisingly, while passing through and taking a quick tour down memory lane with my girls, my dad came back to us! Dementia and memory loss had already had a head start on my dad but he came back and started talking about the times we lived in Alta/Driggs. Times we spent with Jack and went skiing. The time Jack visited us over in Swan Valley and had a barbeque buffalo burger from my river side BBQ bizz I started that summer to feed the guides and fishermen. Then the painting! He loved the painting. It meant so much to him that Jack was so giving and a good friend.. Because of that trip down memory lane, my girls got to hear a last few stories from their grandpa. By the time we returned to CA, it was a matter of days before his mind was gone, and only a handful of weeks until he said goodbye. In my opinnion, that painting and Jack’s friendship helped us have one last charishable moment. I wanted to share that and thank you. Jack was a great friend. As we all know, time, education, careers, etc slowly pull everyone apart. We would stop by every time we passed through the area. Eventually I found myself in Park City, Ut. ,California and Banff Ab, Canada. Becoming one of those momentary friendships that pass with time but are treasured and never forgotten.

    Sorry for the long ol story. Memories just started pouring out. I do have that painting. I love it so, but I would like to share it or at some point get it back to his family. With recent medical issues that my daughter is having to overcome, and after opening a letter left to me by my father recently, explaining once again how the memories you make with your family, and health, are more important than any old fly rod or saddle, has made me do a lot of thinking. Maybe some of the things that I have held onto over the years have another purpose. Maybe it’s time to let a few things go. Share and create new memories for others as well..

    I would like to share some pics of it with you and see what you think. If you can give me a way to send them to you? It is a one if a kind and over the years has received a lot of attention. I would love to see what others think as well as share it with Jack’s family.

    If I’m correct, this site is run by Jack’s daughters. Either way, it’s obvious the love for Jack and his talents.
    So with a Hello, and a Thank You for your moment in time to read this.
    In the Spirit of the West, Have a good one…
    Josh Mackaben

  29. On holiday from England, I met your your father and two of his friends skiing in Grand Targee. I think it must have been the year before he died. I spent the day with them and had a fabulous time. I remember hoping that I would still be skiing when I was your father’s age. To remember the day I bought one of his prints, the one with the bear, the horse and the trapper with a gun, and gave it to my husband as a gift from my holiday. He loved it.
    I have often remembered your father and that day with great pleasure. I had no idea he was famous.

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