Texas Capitol Historical Art Collection

(above: Elijah E. Myers, Texas Capitol, 1882, watercolor and ink, 41 x 64 inches, Collection of The State Preservation Board, Austin, Texas, 1989.77)

Congress Avenue at Eleventh Street

Austin, Texas




Treasured Artworks at the Texas Capitol


The Texas Capitol and grounds feature some of the Lone Star State's most treasured artworks including more than 275 paintings, 175 works on paper, and 25 interior and exterior sculpture pieces. In addition to their aesthetic qualities, these works of art help to tell the story of Texas by portraying its founding citizens, whose words and deeds characterize the state, and the natural beauty of the Texas landscape.


Left to right: Enrico F. Cerracchio, Miriam "Ma" Ferguson, 1926, marble bust with travertine pestatal, 21 x 20 x 10 inches (bust only), 1989.15; Elizabet Ney, Sam Houston, 1901, Italian marble, 82.5 x 25 x 25 inches, 1989.50; Elizabet Ney, Stephen F. Austin, 1901, Italian marble, 76.5 x 25 x 25 inches, 1989.49

Several important and revered artworks in the Capitol are found in the first floor south foyer. On the east and west walls hang two large-scale paintings by William Henry Huddle, David Crockett and The Surrender of Santa Anna. Flanking the entryway to the Capitol rotunda are two life-sized marble statues by German-born sculptor Elisabet Ney of Texas founding colonist Stephen F. Austin and the first president of the Republic of Texas Sam Houston.

The first floor of the rotunda contains portraits of Texas' most recent governors; Governor Miriam "Ma" Ferguson, the first female governor of the Texas, is also portrayed in a marble bust sculpted by Enrico Cerracchio. The other three floors of the rotunda display oil portraits of Presidents of the Republic and Governors of the State.


Left to right: Thomas Jefferson Wright, Juan Nepomucena Segun, 1838, oil on canvas, 21.5 x 26.5 inches, 1989.96; Henry A. McArdle, Settlement of Austin's Colony, 1875, oil on canvas, 85.5 x 64.5 inches, 1989.64; William Henry Huddle, Sam Houston, 1886, oil on canvas, 67 x 54 inches, 1989.66;

Left to right: Brand, Stephen F. Austin with Dog, c. 1880s, (replica of Oak Tree Miniature, c. 1835), oil on canvas, 84.25 x 48 inches, 1989.61; William Henry Huddle, David Crockett, 1889, oil on canvas, 96 x 59 inches, 1989.45; Unknown, Stephen F. Austin, 1836, oil on canvas, 30 x 25 inches, 1989.88

Left to right: Edsel M. Cramer, Barbara Jordan, 1973, oil on canvas, 40.25 x 30 inches, 1989.368. Collection of The State Preservation Board, Austin, Texas; Marie Cronin, Joanna Troutman, 1914, oil on canvas, 39 x 32 inches, 1989.87; Douglas Chandor, Sam Rayburn, 1941, oil on canvas, 48 x 40 inches, 1989.67; David P. Wilson, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1969, oil on canvas, 84 x 44 inches, 1989.92. Collection of The State Preservation Board, Austin, Texas.

The two legislative chambers on the second floor of the Capitol showcase many impressive paintings from the collection. In the Senate Chamber, a mid-nineteenth century portrait of Stephen F. Austin by an unknown artist hangs behind the Lieutenant Governor's rostrum. Two monumental paintings by noted Texas artist Henry Arthur McArdle, Dawn at the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto, anchor the west side of the room. Portraits of notable historical figures line the room including U.S. Representative Barbara Jordan by Edsel McCramor, President Lyndon Baines Johnson by David Wilson, and Republic of Texas President Mirabeau B. Lamar by an unknown artist. The House Chamber, the largest room in the building, features the only textile in the collection -- the original flag from the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto which hangs behind the Speaker's rostrum. Other artwork in the room includes a portrait of the first native Texas governor James Stephen Hogg by Freeman Thorp, Sam Houston by William Henry Huddle, and the Settlement of Austin's Colony by Henry Arthur McArdle.

On the second floor north wing is the Legislative Reference Library. This working library, once a division of the State Library, features paintings of the Fort at Nacogdoches by an unknown artist, Juan Nepomuceno Seguin by Thomas Jefferson Wright, and Stephen F. Austin by Louis Eyth. Busts of Sam Houston by an unknown artist and Memucan Hunt by Hyram Powers, as well as an allegorical sculpture of The Alamo by Lee Malone are also on display. The Governor's Public Reception Room is in the south wing. In the style of a Victorian parlor, this room serves as a formal meeting place for official visitors. Several recent acquisitions to the art collection adorn the walls of the Reception Room including four pastels of West Texas landscapes by Frank Reaugh and White Rock Lake by Reveau Bassett, a Reaugh student.

Battle Scenes and Flags:

Left to right: Henry Arthur McArdle, Battle of San Jacinto, 1898, oil on canvas, 95 x 167.5 inches, 1989.80; Ogden Pleissner, The Alamo, 1965, oil on canvas, 34 x 60 inches, 1989.98; James Henry Beard, San Jacinto Battle Flag, 1836, silk and linen backing, 56.75 x 65.25 inches, 1989.68; Henry Arthur McArdle, Dawn at the Alamo, 1905, oil on canvas, 84.25 x 144.75 inches, 1989.81; Lajos Markos, The Siege of the Alamo, 1977-1980, oil on canvas, 59.5 x 73.5 inches, 1989.383; William Henry Huddle, 1890, Surrender of Santa Anna, oil on canvas, 72 x 114 inches, 1989.46. Collection of The State Preservation Board, Austin, Texas.

The third floor courtrooms feature paintings of state justices who served in the Capitol prior to 1915, the era of interpretation for the historic building. Particularly impressive are the portraits hanging on the recreated drapery treatment in the historic Supreme Court Courtroom. The portraits by unknown artists depict Abner Lipscomb, John Hemphill, and Royal Wheeler, the three state justices appointed by Governor James Pinckney Henderson to serve on the Supreme Court for the new State of Texas in 1846.

Although many composite photographs of members of the Texas Legislature are found in the two Chambers and third floor galleries, the majority are found in chronological order on the ground floor of the Capitol. Pictures of House members are found on the west side and pictures of Senators are found on the east.

Genre Scenes:

Left to right: Julius Stockfleth, Chas. Clarke, 1900, oil on canvas, 20 x 32 inches, 1998.20; Gean Smith, Wildfire, 1915, oil on canvas, 30 x 39 inches, 1996.3; Louis Eyth, Ranger Encampment, c. 1880s, oil on canvas, 18 x 30 inches, 1997.7; Unknown, The Hunt, 1800, oil on canvas, 106.5 x 95.5 inches, 1989.374

Read more about Louis Eyth, Ranger Encampment.

Read more about Gean Smith, Wildfire

Read more about Julius Stockfleth, Chas. Clarke

Read more about William Henry Huddle, Surrender of Santa Anna

Left to right: Harry S. Sindall, Fording the Pecos River, c. 1857-58, oil on paper, 9.5 x 13.5 inches, 1997.19; Tom Lea, Ranger Escort West of the Pecos, 1965, oil on canvas, 36.25 x 52 inches, 1989.751; Harry S. Sindall, c. 1857-58, Captain John Pope's Artesian Well Drilling Site, oil on paper, 10 x 14 inches, 1997.20

Read more about Harry S. Sindall, Fording the Pecos River, Captain John Pope's Artesian Well Drilling Site

The Capitol Extension, an underground office building adjacent to the historic Capitol, was completed in 1993. Built as an effort to solve the overcrowding problem, the Extension provides office space for some of the legislators and their staffs, a bookstore, cafeteria, hearing rooms, auditorium and two levels of parking for Capitol staff. Bronze busts of U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Sam Rayburn by Blaine Gibson, thirty-second U.S. Vice-President John Nance Garner by Enrico Cerracchio, and other notable historical figures encircle the Capitol Extension Seal Court.


Left to right: Frank Reaugh, Butte and Mesa, c. 1900-1915, pastel on paper, 4.5 x 8.5 inches, 1997.12; Frank Reaugh, Red Mesa, c. 1900-1915, pastel on paper, 4.5 x 8.75 inches, 1997.13; Reveau Bassett, White Rock Lake ; Frank Reaugh, Steer in Yucca Landscape, c. 1900-1915, pastel on paper, 4.5 x 9 inches, 1997.11, Frank Reaugh, Cows and Sharp Peak, c. 1900-1915, pastel on paper, 4.5 x 9.25 inches, 1997.10. Collection of The State Preservation Board, Austin, Texas.

Read more about Frank Reaugh's artworks

Left to right: Frank Reaugh, North Fork of the Red River, 1914, oil on canvas, 16.25 x 32 inches, 1999.2; Julian Onderdonk, In the Truck Gardens of San Antonio, 1912, oil on canvas, 15.5 x 23.5 inches, 1997.16; Hale Bolton, Texas Sunset, c. 1920, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches, 1998.4; Franz Strahalm, Palo Duro Canyon, c. 1920, oil on canvas, 26 x 30 inches, 1999.3. Collection of The State Preservation Board, Austin, Texas.

Read more about Julian Onderdonk, In the Truck Gardens of San Antonio

Read more about Hale Bolton, Texas Sunset

Read more about Franz Strahalm, Palo Duro Canyon

More than 15 monuments are located on the approximately 22 acres of grounds surrounding the Texas Capitol. The oldest four monuments are the Heroes of the Alamo by J. S. Clark, Volunteer Firemen by Frank Teich, the Confederate Soldiers by Pompeo Coppini and Frank Teich, and Terry's Texas Rangers by Pompeo Coppini. These commemorative monuments flank the tree-lined Great Walk leading up to the south entrance of the Capitol.


Resource Library editor's note

Please call 512.463.0063 for public viewing hours and information on tours.

All images courtesy of The State Preservation Board, Austin, Texas.

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

Also see Texas Art History

Revised 1/7/00, 2/19/00, 2/24/00, 5/23/00, 12/24/10

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 5/28/11

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