“Great Bear” Painter has Deep Ties to Montana’s Landscapes
Every year, the buildup to Earth Day provides a chance to thank our conservation heroes. This year, that means a big, heartfelt round of gratitude to Montana artist Monte Dolack for his enormous contribution to wildlife habitat conservation.
Since 2008, Monte’s “Great Bear” painting has decorated Vital Ground’s Montana specialty license plate, which has contributed nearly one million dollars to help connect and protect key landscape in one of the last remaining, intact mountain ecosystems on Earth. Last year, contributions from Montanans purchasing Vital Ground’s license plate helped support efforts to conserve 1,700 acres of grizzly bear habitat in the Northern Rockies and Inland Northwest, our most ambitious year of conservation ever.
Monte is a lifelong Montana resident who grew up surrounded by the same sweeping vistas and big sky as artist Charlie Russell. His love for the diverse landscapes and wildlife of the West is evident in the images he creates and the commissions he undertakes. His “Great Bear” painting—which not only adorns Vital Ground’s specialty license plate in Montana but is also featured on Montana Coffee Traders’ Grizzly Blend coffee, sales of which benefit Vital Ground through our Business Partners in Conservation program—is an example of how he relates an animal to the landscape as well as to human culture, history and mythology.
“My paintings are inspired by my concern for the natural world and by a continuing interest in travel, art and nature,” Monte said. “I do what I can to communicate to my group of friends and collectors what I’m doing and what I’m interested in, and Vital Ground is definitely an important one.”
Monte now works primarily as a painter of magic realism focusing on Nature. His work often features animals sometimes in environments altered by humans. He has a gained worldwide following and is considered a key figure in the visual arts of the American West, his work becoming highly collectible. You can find his “Great Bear” painting along with much other highly popular artwork on the Monte Dolack Fine Art website here.
Most recently, Monte has been preparing for the release of a large collection of his paintings in book form, which will be available later this year. His art was featured in a 2020 solo exhibition at the Montana Museum of Art and Culture, in addition to recent solo exhibitions at the Palace of Nations at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, and Helena Montana’s Holter Museum of Art.
To celebrate Earth Day, Monte and Vital Ground are excited to offer a new T-shirt decorated with “Great Bear” artwork. Your purchase will help Vital Ground continue to protect crucial habitat for grizzlies and other sensitive plants and animals that call the Northern Rockies home.