Treasured Artworks at the Texas Capitol


Congress Avenue at Eleventh Street

Austin, Texas


Frank Reaugh

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; 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. Presented to the State Preservation Board by the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, Canyon, Texas, June 3, 1997. Collection of The State Preservation Board, Austin, Texas.

Frank Reaugh, North Fork of the Red River, 1914, oil on canvas, 16.25 x 32 inches, 1999.2. Collection of The State Preservation Board, Austin, Texas.


Noted Texas artist Frank Reaugh began his career during his teen years by sketching cattle in pastures near the family farm outside Terrell, Texas. He participated in several cattle drives from Texas to Kansas that allowed him to observe range life. After studying at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts, Reaugh returned to Terrell and became a private art instructor. He enjoyed annual sketching trips to West Texas with his students. Although he preferred to "rough it" on these trips, he nevertheless felt that art should coexist with philosophy, literature and music to "refine" the individual. Reaugh loved the culture of West Texas and vowed never to live outside the state.

Although famed Texas artist Frank Reaugh was born in Illinois and therefore was not a native Texan, he was very proud of his adopted state where he settled with his family in 1876. Reaugh believed that the cowboys, plains and cattle that he depicted were the clearest expression of the state's uniqueness.

After the 1890s, Reaugh worked increasingly in pastels. He trusted the making of the pastel crayons to no one but himself, molding crayons of more than 300 shades. He was a devout Christian who believed that drawing the plains constituted a form of worship. He once said that, "Nature's church [is] the only one this ultra-modern world has left unspoiled." In his later life, he mourned the passing of the open range for the sake of progress.

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