SAN ANTONIO, TX.- The Museum
s Texas Art collection is now in expanded gallery space on the Third Floor of the Museums East Tower. This new installation offers a fresh perspective and wider view of Texas art. Paintings by such iconic Texas artists as Julian Onderdonk and José Arpa y Perea are placed in the context of notable works from Texas abstract artists, artists influenced by surrealism, self-taught artists and craftsman, and significant pieces of decorative art.
The new gallery has allowed space for a complement of nineteenth-century furniture as well, including armoires and an unusual day bed. These works of early Texas furniture, made in various locations throughout the state, were given to the Museum in the early 1990s by the legendary Houstonian collector Faith P. Bybee and have not been on view in decades.
Texas Art has been at the forefront of developments in artistic practice, and our holdings reveal the important contributions artists working in Texas have made to American art, said Chief Curator and Curator of American and European Art William Keyse Rudolph. San Antonio was one of the cradles of art in the state, and the San Antonio Museum of Art believes strongly in the presentation of Texas art.
In addition to familiar and favored works such as Onderdonks bluebonnets in Near San Antonio, once on loan to the Oval Office during the administration of George W. Bush, the gallery includes a recent acquisition: Clara MacDonald Williamsons The Harvest, a 1950s painting by one of North Texass most important self-taught artists. Of the same period but a vastly different style is a long-term loan of Fort Worth artist Kelly Fearings Saint Above a Glacier.
Another important recent acquisition on view is the 1948 painting Suspension by Toni La Selle, the first artist in Texas to completely commit to abstraction. Women artists were the first professional artists in Texas. They led local stylistic advances and were pioneers in almost every artistic trend, said Rudolph. We are excited to represent historic and modern works by such artists as Bonnie MacLeary, Emma Richardson Cherry, Clara MacDonald Williamson, Florence McClung, and Toni La Selle. The generosity of donors such as the Kelso Family, who established an endowment for Texas Art at the Museum, as well as local, regional, and national lenders, allows us to tell these artists' stories, and to expand the collections for the future.
Access to the newly installed Texas Art Gallery is included in general admission to the Museum.