Landscapes of Texas – The Frank Reaugh Exhibit

by Julie Tereshchuk on August 5, 2015 in Entertainment, Art, Austin,
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Frank Reaugh arrived in Texas by covered wagon in 1876 and went on to create a series of iconic paintings while riding with trail drivers at the height of Texas’ cattle roundups. His work ranged from the Texas Panhandle to Big Bend and beyond, and is on display at Austin’s Harry Ransom Center now through November 29.

The exhibition explores the life and work of artist, educator, inventor and naturalist Charles Franklin Reaugh (1860–1945), pronounced “Ray.” One of the Southwest’s earliest and most distinguished artists, Reaugh worked in the vein of American Impressionism and devoted his career to visually documenting the vast, unsettled regions of the Southwest before the turn of the 20th century.

Indian Camp, circa 1883; Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center
Indian Camp, circa 1883; Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center

“No other artist had the opportunity or the desire to paint such subjects,” Reaugh once stated. “Now the subjects have passed. They will not be painted with like authenticity again.”

Visitors to this exhibition will have the rare opportunity to experience a historical survey of the most significant works created by an artist often referred to as “the Dean of Texas Artists.”

The exhibition concludes with Reaugh’s magnum opus, “Twenty-four Hours with the Herd,” a series of seven large pastel paintings that depict a day of life on the trail. Reaugh created a multidisciplinary performance of the same title that premiered in 1933. The series is accompanied by preliminary studies, a performance script and associated publications.

Driving the Herd, Number 1 of 7 from the series, Twenty-four Hours with the Herd, 1933; Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center
Driving the Herd, Number 1 of 7 from the series, Twenty-four Hours with the Herd, 1933; Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center

Admission is free, although donations to support the Ransom Center’s exhibitions and public programs are accepted. Free public tours are held every day at noon, Thursdays at 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Can’t make it into Austin’s Harry Ransom Center for this fascinating exhibition? No worries: see more than 200 pieces of Frank Reaugh’s art online in his digital collection.

The digital collection, which features images of the front and back of each artwork—both framed and unframed—was made possible with support from IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) and TSLAC (Texas State Library and Archives Commission).

 Undated photo of Frank Reaugh and students with truck, Cicada. Unknown photographer; Image courtesy of Jerry Bywaters Collection on Art of the Southwest, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.
Undated photo of Frank Reaugh and students with truck, Cicada. Unknown photographer; Image courtesy of Jerry Bywaters Collection on Art of the Southwest, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.

By Julie Tereshchuk

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