Butts was born and raised in California. During his early career in the Los Angeles area, he was influenced by Abstract Expressionism, prevalent at the time, and by the work of other artists on the scene, including Richard Diebenkorn, who were attempting to merge a figurative style with abstraction. One can easily see that Butts’ spontaneous approach, his instinct to simplify, and his attention to the process of painting were rooted in those early years. More importantly, it is clear that his work matured and blossomed in Montana.
In addition to the Missoula Art Museum other museums with significant work by Freeman Butts artwork are the Custer County Art Museum in Miles City, the Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell, the Holter Museum of Art in Helena, the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art in Great Falls, and the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings. Please visit their web sites to receive updates on ways that this impressive gift has been incorporated into their own exhibition schedule and programming.