Saturday, July 14, 2012

Frank Reaugh: Pastel Poet of the Texas Plains

Film Crew Setting Up
I had the very interesting and exciting experience being filmed as a "talking head" by noted independent film maker Marla Fields, who is currently making a documentary on the life of famed Texas artist Frank Reaugh. He is best known as the painter to the longhorns. Reaugh was a pioneer artist who lived from 1860 until 1945, spending most of his career in Dallas. His home and studio still stands in Oak Cliff. In the 1880s, he attended art school in St. Louis and eventually studied at the Académie Julian in Paris during the winter of 1888–89. Moving to Dallas in 1890, Reaugh quickly became enthralled with the cattle kingdom and routinely made trips to the western part of the state to paint longhorns. He painted thousands of such images while he became one of the most accomplished art teachers in early twentieth century Texas. Starting in the early years of the twentieth century, Reaugh began leading summer expeditions for his students that ranged over vast parts of West Texas. He and his students painted as they travelled, first by wagon and then by automobile. Back home in Dallas, he established a public art gallery at the library in 1903 and founded the Dallas Art Association. That latter organization was the forerunner of the modern Dallas Museum of Art. Today, the Pan Handle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon has the largest public collection of his work. Marla Fields is currently making a documentary of Reaugh's life that involves the participation of historians, artists, museum curators, and art critics. It was my task to set Reaugh's life into historical context within the larger scope of Texas History.

For information about Marla Fields' documentary "Frank Reaugh:  Pastel Poet of the Plains." Click Here.

For information about Frank Reaugh, see a website maintained by Lucretia Donnell Coke, one of his last surviving students. Click Here

Monday, July 9, 2012

Researching the Life of Stella Shurtleff

Sarah Powell and Victoria Cummins
 at the Archives of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts
Victoria Cummins and I spent the first week of July in Houston at the Woodson Resarch Center at Rice University, the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, and the Archives of Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Our purpose was to gather material about early 20th century Texas art critic Stella Shurtleff, one of the women we are including in our project "Muses to Modern Culture: Women and the Promotion of the Fine Arts in Texas, 1919-1942."  While researching in the Archives of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, we were proud to encounter archivist Sarah Powell, who is a 2008 graduate of Austin College and who took a number of my history classes. We are glad that AC history students are doing well and being successful as is the case for Sarah, who is pictured above with Vicki. We found a tremendous amount of useful information on Ms. Shurtleff, who is pictured below.