Painting the Texas Landscape:

TMA Exhibition to Show Rare Works by Texas Artist

8.10.2010

August 10, 2010 (TYLER, TX) – The Tyler Museum of Art announced that the exhibition titled L.O. Griffith: Painting the Texas Landscape will be on view in the Museum’s North Gallery September 19, 2010 through January 2, 2011. The exhibition is organized by the TMA and will feature paintings by early Texas artist L.O. (Louis Oscar) Griffith, artworks that have not been featured in a major exhibition in over 70 years. Corporate sponsor for L.O. Griffith: Painting the Texas Landscape is Genecov Group. Collectors’ Circle sponsors are the Robert M. Rogers Foundation and Mr. and Mrs. John Glass, Jr. (Sponsors as of printing.)

“The exhibition will include approximately 70 works and will be the first exposure that scholars and collectors of early Texas art as well as the general public will have to view this powerful and beautiful body of work,” said Kimberley Tomio, TMA Director. “If not for a chance meeting at a New York City art fair between Dallas art dealer, Kevin Vogel of Valley House Gallery, and Ohio art dealer, Thomas French, these Texas paintings and prints might have never been brought back to their rightful home in 2003.”

At the time of their meeting, French represented the Griffith estate, but was unaware of Griffith’s significant contribution to the history of Texas art. A large body of paintings, prints and drawings had been tucked away in Indiana, nearly untouched in the Griffith estate since his death in 1956. The discovery revealed a body of work created by Griffith while visiting his childhood home in Dallas and accompanying his good friend and mentor, Frank Reaugh (1860-1945) on sketching excursions into West Texas.

The works depict a landscape that was endlessly inspiring to Griffith, who captured the rough character of the West Texas landscape with a soft hand and delicate rendering. Once primarily recognized as an American Impressionist, Griffith emerges before us as one of the early Texas artists whose eye was captivated by the striking, unparalleled color and texture of the state’s terrain.

About the Artist

Born in 1875 in Greencastle, Indiana, L.O. Griffith was raised in Dallas, Texas and as a child, he enjoyed sketching. He met Frank Reaugh, a legendary Dallas artist and teacher and became one his most accomplished students and life-long friends. Griffith left Dallas in 1893 to attend the St. Louis School of Fine Arts and later moved to Chicago where he worked as a commercial artist while attending evening classes at the Art Institute. His first success as a professional artist came when he exhibited his work in the 1909 Annual Exhibition of Work by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity at the Art Institute.

Rebecca E. Lawton, Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, says that “[Griffith] made becoming an artist the main idea of his life. He devoted his brush to capturing the beauty of nature and the many paintings he made of Texas are a unique contribution to the legacy of plein-air painting in the state.” An essay by Ms. Lawton on the artist and his works included in the exhibition will be published in a catalogue to be produced by the TMA in conjunction with L.O. Griffith: Painting the Texas Landscape.

According to Ms. Lawton’s research, the numerous sketching trips taken by Griffith and Reaugh were arduous and sometimes lengthy expeditions made in horse-drawn wagons over rugged terrain. Along the way, Griffith painted Buzzards’ Peak in King County, crossed Edwards Plateau, and traveled as far south as the Big Bend area, making his resulting body of work a consummate reflection of the Lone Star State’s western regions.

Schedule of Events & Activities

Sunday, September 19, 2010 – L.O. Griffith: Painting the Texas Landscape opens to the public. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and free for children 12 and under and TMA Members. TMA is open on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday, September 19, 2010 – Fall Lecture Series I, “Tone Poems: L.O. Griffith’s Texas Landscapes” by special guest Rebecca Lawton, Associate Curator of Paintings and Sculpture for Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth. The lecture will be held in the TMA Classroom and will require an admission fee of $10 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, and free for TMA Members and children 12 and under. Lecture admission fee includes admission to the exhibition

Friday, October 1, 2010 & Friday, December 3, 2010 – First Friday Art Tour, featuring L.O. Griffith: Painting the Texas Landscape, beginning at 11 a.m. The tour is free, but exhibition admission fees apply.

Saturday, October 9, 2010 & Saturday, December 11, 2010 – Family Day, featuring L.O. Griffith: Painting the Texas Landscape. Held in the TMA Classroom, Family Day art activities are free and will reflect themes and techniques presented in the exhibition. Admission fees are discounted for adults during Family Day hours: $5.00 for adults; $5.00 for students & seniors; and free for children age 12 and under.

The Tyler Museum of Art, accredited by the American Association of Museums, is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave., adjacent to the Tyler Junior College campus off East Fifth Street. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. (The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.) Lunch is available in the Museum Café from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and the TMA Gift Shop is open during Museum hours. For more information, call (903) 595-1001 or visit www.tylermuseum.org.