Max developed his love for wildlife, nature and art from his youngest years. His dad and grandfathers taught him how to hunt and fish in the marshes of the Texas Gulf coast to the Piney Woods. By the age of nine, the young artist had already created his first permanent sculptures and oil paintings which happened to depict wildlife and nature. Max was later introduced to backpacking, canoeing and archery in the Boy Scouts where he earned the highest rank of Eagle and attended the XII World Jamboree in 1967.
Reading, camping, hunting and a correspondence course in taxidermy taught Max about wildlife behavior, habitat and anatomy. By the age of 17, Max had taken his first deer with a bow and arrow, taught a course on taxidermy at his high school and published his first hunting article in the internationally circulated archery magazine, BOW & ARROW.
It was only natural that Max shared his love of the outdoors with his new wife, Sherry who quickly learned to camp, backpack, canoe and shoot a bow. In 1975, the young couple actually went backpacking and bowhunting for elk on their Honeymoon in the wilderness of northwestern Colorado! In the years following, Max and Sherry traveled across the North American continent studying, photographing, bowhunting and making art of North American wildlife.
In the spring of 1978, just four years after graduating from Texas A&M University with an architectural design degree, Max and Sherry Greiner came back to Texas from California to start a “fine art” business. The Greiners moved into a “vacation” house owned by Max’s parents, which was located on a 116 ranch near the small southeast Texas town of Woodville.
Max focused his attention on artwork that depicted nature and North American wildlife. With only $40 dollars left in their savings account, the young couple prayed over their first ($1,400) full color ART NEWSLETTER and mailed it out. Within 48 hours by the grace of God, the Greiners sold over $20,000 worth of Max’s art and his professional art career was launched! The demand for Max’s art shocked the entire family. Eventually, Greiner’s art would be sold to some of the top art collectors in the USA, including famous people like singer Johnny Cash, golfer Jack Nicklaus and captains of business.
At the time, Max’s art consisted of drawings, watercolor and oil paintings and bronze sculptures. While most professional artists specialized in either painting or sculpting, Max did both. His oil paintings and wildlife bronzes sold for as much as $8,000 each. While other professional artists were creating 12 to 20 sculptures per year or dozens of paintings, Max took the advice of his mentor, internationally collected wildlife artist Doug Van Howd, of Auburn, California. The accomplished senior artist urged Max to focus on quality
rather than quantity.
Doug also recommended that the young artist concentrate on only one species annually, spending all the time necessary to become an “expert” on that species. Therefore, Max extensively researched his wildlife subjects, both academically and in the field. Greiner did his own photography and bowhunted the animals when possible. During the creation process, Max harvested deer, elk, bear, antelope, mountain lion, sheep, caribou, wild boar and wild turkey with his bow and arrow.
Max’s creative process for making wildlife bronze sculptures was unique. After selecting a wildlife species, Max first created a Preliminary Composition Drawing in charcoal, or pen & ink, to depict the sculpture composition he wanted to make. In this way the artist shared his sculpture ideas with potential collectors. They were then offered the opportunity to purchase his future sculpture at a special “Pre-casting Price”. This marketing strategy allowed the artist to sell his art before making it. This made it possible to spend hundreds of hours working on the sculpture project itself.
The goal of the artist was to create one annual wildlife bronze sculpture, in a Signed & Numbered Limited Edition that was both biologically and anatomically correct, while using a style and composition that was aesthetically strong. Most of Max’s wildlife bronzes were created in a 1:7 scale so the sculptures could relate to each other as a collection.
Greiner was able to “pre-sell” five “Autumn Fever” whitetail deer bronzes, at $1,500 each, out of 24 bronze castings from his first Signed & Numbered Limited Edition. By the time this edition sold out bronze castings were selling for $5,500 each. Max’s next seven wildlife sculpture editions sold out and then resold for two and three times the original Pre-casting Price. Eventually, Max’s wildlife bronze sculpture editions sold out from the Preliminary Composition Drawing BEFORE the sculptures were carved! Virtually no other artist in the USA was selling out entire bronze editions before creation, except for Greiner’s, mentor Douglas Van Howd. Thanks to the favor of God, his mentors and art collectors, Max sold over a million dollars worth of his art by the age of 35. This milestone was accomplished without the aid of outside galleries or agents.
Well known California wildlife art collector, Doug Kittredge had this to say about Greiner’s art: “I have been an avid collector of quality wildlife art for over 30 years. My collection represents some of the finest artists of our time. I believe the pieces I have by Max Greiner, Jr. rank among the best of my grouping and I recommend his art to any serious collector.”
However, in 1983 life began to fall apart for the Greiners as the couple experienced a series of unexpected serious trials in their lives. First, Max learned that his wife, Sherry and his dad both had life-threatening illnesses. Then, the Texas economy crashed in the mid-eighties and 95% of Max’s art collectors went bankrupt due to the collapse of the oil, real estate and banking industries. Art sales completely stopped and the Greiners could no longer pay the notes on their Kerrville ranch, home or art gallery.
After great success, in the spring I986, Max was losing everything important to him. The artist cried out to God in desperation. It was at that time that God spoke to Max and told the 35 year old artist to create a small sculpture of Jesus washing Peter’s feet. Realizing God was trying to teach him about humility, Greiner agreed but did not immediately obey. As a result, the LORD allowed Max’s circumstances to further deteriorate. The Sculptor was sculpting the sculptor.
Finally, in 1989 at the brink of disaster, the artist finally obeyed God and created a small bronze sculpture called “Divine Servant”. As a result of this decision, the focus of Max’s art and life changed forever. God began to restore the Greiners as Max’s focus changed to the Creator rather than himself or the creation.
Today, Max’s artwork is collected in all 50 states and more than two dozen countries. It is in the collections of presidents and governors, popes and preachers and the stars of business, sports, music, TV and movies. At the high end, Max’s art today sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
However, Max’s wildlife art is still available to collectors. Max no longer attends wildlife conventions and art shows because God has set his sights on bigger game. Today God uses Max and Sherry to introduce people to the love and power of God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. To learn more about Max and Sherry’s God click here.