Up Close and Personal: Portraits from the Reaves Collection of Texas Art

Saturday, September 7, 2019 10:00 AM - Saturday, January 18, 2020 5:00 PM
The Grace Museum
102 Cypress Street Abilene, TX 79601
STELLA SULLIVAN, Portrait of David Moncrief, 1952, oil on canvas.

Bill and Linda Reaves have been avid Texas art collectors for over forty years, and together have assembled an outstanding collection of artwork by 20th century Texas artists. The Reaves Collection of Texas Art reflects the breadth and depth of the collectors’ knowledge of Texas art and artists. This exhibition features a selection of artworks from their private collection focusing on the human figure by well-known artists such as Kathleen Blackshear, Dixon Reeder, Stella Sullivan, Donald Vogel, Flora Reeder, Harold Bugbee, Cecil Casebier, Henry Gadbois, Edmund Kinzinger, Florence McClung, Leila McConnell, Kermit Oliver, and others.  The human figure, long the foundation for art study, continues to inspire creative interpretation. Throughout history, artists have made their own features, as well as those of patrons, family and friends, their primary subject of portraiture, and these intimate renderings have, in turn, aide our understanding of the artists as well as their subjects.

The Reaves have been active in the early Texas art community as collectors, authors, guest curators and organizational directors. Bill is a former member of the Board of Directors of the San Antonio Art League, as well as a founder and former Chairman of the Board of the Center for the Advancement and Study of Early Texas Art (CASETA).  He has also been an active member of Texas collector societies in Austin (Central Texas TACO) and Houston (HETAG).  The Reaves have served as guest curators or advisors for several exhibitions of Texas paintings, including exhibitions at The San Antonio Art League Museum, The Heritage Society-Houston, and The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center as well as authoring several publications on Texas art and artists. The Reaves have served for thirty years as teachers and administrators in public and higher education before establishing William Reaves Fine Art gallery (now Sarah Foltz Fine Art) in Houston specializing in the Texas art.

Part of the HUMAN INTEREST contemporary portraits series of exhibitions.

Five exhibitions examine contemporary interpretations of the enduring tradition of portraiture. Can a portrait be more than a recognizable image of the sitter? Since the advent of photography, the genre of contemporary portraiture has expanded far beyond the requirement of recording a likeness for posterity. Today we expect more than a likeness and we rely on the artist’s skill and creativity to see the subject’s outward appearance in the context of a larger reality. Artists, both traditional and conceptual, continue to draw on the genre’s rich and limitless options for new means of creative expression, and their efforts have been rewarded with a resurgence of critical interest. The artist’s challenge is to apply his or her ingenuity and empathetic insight to illuminate not just a person’s unique appearance, but also engage the viewer. Portrait artists frequently describe their efforts as “collaborative,” recognizing that the process requires both the resemblance of the subject and the intention of the artist. The individual pictured, known or unknown, in a work of art is almost always read by the viewer as an extension of the human experience. How we react is literally in the hands of the artist. 

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