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For Love of the Land: Painting the Texas Landscape

Saturday, February 17, 2024 10:00 AM - Saturday, September 21, 2024 5:00 PM
The Grace Museum
102 Cypress Street Abilene, TX 79601

Exhibition Reception | Friday, May 3, 2024 | 5 pm
Guest Speaker: Michael Grauer, McCasland Chair of Cowboy Culture, Curator of Cowboy Collections & Western Art at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

One of the first chroniclers of art in Texas was Abilenian France Battaile Fisk, who wrote in her 1928 publication, A History of Texas Artists and Sculptors, “…our painters of Texas landscape, with its ever changing moods and rapidly developing country are rendering a great service, as with canvas and brush they are faithfully picturing the characteristics of our Lone Star State…” 

Julian Onderdonk, Dusty Road, 1915, oil on canvas, Nancy and Ted Paup Early Texas Art Collection

The mythos of Texas is tied directly to the land. An area of vast contrasts covering 268,596 square miles and elevation ranges from 1,000 feet above sea level at the low end near the meeting of the Pecos and Rio Grande Rivers to the highest point in Texas, Guadalupe Peak, reaching up to 8,749 feet. This exhibition is curated as a visual dialogue focusing on the longstanding tradition of art as an expression of the lore, lure and love of the vast and varied Texas landscape. The paintings on view, inspired by the beauty and majesty of the ever-changing landscape in the state, dating from the late 19th century through the early 21st century, reveal images as distinctive as the individual artists who captured on canvas the changing seasons, native flora, forests, deserts, rivers and mountains they encountered. The works of art remain as a time capsule and tribute to romantic visions of unspoiled places and hope for astute stewardship of the state’s natural environment.

Paintings by important Texas artists Jose Aceves, José Arpa, Thomas Allen, Dwight Holmes, Dawson Dawson-Watson, Edward Eisenlohr, Herman Lungkwitz, Robert Onderdonk, Frank Reaugh, L. O. Griffith, Julian Onderdonk, Otis Dozier, William Lester, Everett Spruce, Porfirio Salinas and many others, as well as contemporary landscape painters Dennis Blagg, Bob Stuth-Wade, Scott Gentling, Jim Woodson and Randy Bacon, will confirm the long tradition of artists’ expressing their love of the land as a primary subject painted over the decades in a variety of media and styles. The rich diversity of ecosystems and natural environments throughout Texas will be explored through the works of art and educational programs.

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