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Lone Star Legacy: The Barrett Collection of Early Texas Art

May 27 - November 18, 2007


The Dallas Museum of Art announced in March, 2007 that Nona and Richard Barrett of Dallas have given more than 60 works from their outstanding private collection of early Texas art to the Dallas Museum of Art's permanent collection. The Barrett's gift to the Museum will be known as The Barrett Collection and it represents work from the 1870s to 1988, with the majority of works dating from the 1930s-50s, one of the richest periods in Texas art. This group of 62 paintings and works on paper will be on display in an exhibition titled Lone Star Legacy: The Barrett Collection of Early Texas Art, opening May 27, 2007 in the Lamont Gallery and remaining on view November 18, 2007.

"With the generosity of Dallasites Nona and Richard Barrett, the Museum's already important collection has been transformed into one of the finest assemblages of early Texas art in any museum," said John R. Lane, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. "The Barretts' great civic commitment and cultural generosity not only benefit the Dallas Museum of Art but bring Texas regionalism to higher national prominence."

The Barrett Collection encompasses late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century works by landscape painters Hermann Lungkwitz, José Arpa y Perea, and Dawson Dawson-Watson -- artists for whom museum-quality work is virtually non-existent on the current market. Additionally, exquisite paintings by Frank Reaugh, Edward G. Eisenlohr, and Julian Onderdonk will enrich the Museum's current holdings of these well-regarded artists.

At the same time, the Barrett gift provides for important expansion into the later careers of several of the Dallas Nine, particularly Everett Spruce and William Lester, to now offer broad retrospective coverage of the artists who helped put Texas regionalism on the art historical map.

In one of its most important moves, the Barrett compilation bridges the gap between early Texas art and contemporary art with the gift of two works by Forrest Bess, one of the most important and enigmatic abstract artists working in the state after the Second World War.

"Starting in the late 1980s, the Barretts began to build what would become a pioneering collection of contemporary Texas art, then largely under-appreciated," said William Rudolph, The Pauline Gill Sullivan Associate Curator of American Art at the Dallas Museum of Art and curator of the forthcoming exhibition. "At the same time as they developed a sophisticated understanding of the art of their own moment, the Barretts also explored the state's artistic foundations, well in advance of the current vogue for these works, and carefully selected particularly fine examples of leading artists for this celebrated collection." Dr. Rudolph describes the artwork as very accessible to its viewers, with scenes of ranching, farming and everyday life. "You don't have to know much about art to really be drawn to it," he adds. "It can be just as basic as you want it, and it's also very sophisticated when you start looking."


(above: Clara McDonald Williamson, American, 1875 - 1976, Ropin' the Range, 1957, Oil on panel, Image dimensions: 18 x 20 inches (45.72 x 50.8 cm), Framed dimensions: 25 1/2 x 27 1/2 inches (64.77 x 69.85 cm). Dallas Museum of Art, The Barrett Collection, Dallas, Texas)


(above: Julian Onderdonk, American, 1882 - 1922, October Sunlight, 1911, Oil on canvas, Image dimensions: 9 x 12 inches (22.86 x 30.48 cm), Framed dimensions: 14 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches (36.83 x 44.45 cm). Dallas Museum of Art, The Barrett Collection, Dallas, Texas)


(above: José Arpa y Perea, Spanish, active in America, 1860 - 1952, Sloping Hills, 1926, Oil on canvas, Framed dimensions: 30 1/2 x 39 1/2 inches (77.47 x 100.33 cm), Image dimensions: 24 x 34 inches (60.96 x 86.36 cm). Dallas Museum of Art, The Barrett Collection, Dallas, Texas)

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