Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum

Canyon, TX



H. D. Bugbee: 100 at 100


The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum at Canyon, Texas, will open a retrospective of the Southwestern artist, H. D. Bugbee on September 9, 2000. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Bugbee's birth, the Museum will bring together 100 of Bugbee's finest works in oil, watercolor, pen-and-ink, and sculpture. Bugbee portrayed historic and then-contemporary Southern Plains life, including cowboys, American Indians, and flora and fauna of the region. (left: H. D. Bugbee in his studio, c. 1925, Courtesy Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum)

At the suggestion of his cousin, cattleman T. S. Bugbee, Harold Dow Bugbee came to the Texas panhandle from Lexington, Massachusetts, in 1914 with his parents. He studied at Texas A & M College in 1917 and the Cumming School of Art in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1920. (left: Buffalo, ink and watercolor on paper)

Advised by cattlemen Frank Collinson and Charles Goodnight, Bugbee rendered the landscape and wildlife of the Texas panhandle, as well as nostalgic paintings of Indians and cowboys. Each fall, until the late 1930s, the artist traveled to Taos to paint with his fellow artists William Herbert "Buck"Dunton, Frank Hoffman, Leon Gaspard, and Ralph Meyers, often packing into the mountains to paint with either Meyers or Dunton.

By the mid-1920s galleries in Denver, Chicago, Kansas City, and New York handled Bugbee's work. With the Depression and decreasing picture sales, in 1933 Bugbee turned to magazine illustration, a practice he maintained for some eighteen years. He did pen-and-ink illustrations for Ranch Romances, Western Stories, Country Gentleman, and Field and Stream, among others. Additionally, Bugbee also illustrated a number of significant books on Western history including J. Evetts Haley's Charles Goodnight: Cowman and Plainsman, Willie N. Lewis's Between Sun and Sod, and S. Omar Barker's Songs of the Saddleman and others. He also continued to make easel paintings. (left: Bronco Buster, c. 1927, ink on paper)

Under Roosevelt's New Deal, Bugbee painted the first of five murals for the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum's Pioneer Hall in 1934. He later painted additional murals for the Amarillo Army Air Field and set of murals on Native American life for the Museum.

Bugbee exhibited at the Tri-State Fair at Amarillo, Fort Worth Frontier Centennial Exposition in 1936, the Greater Texas and Pan-American Exposition at Dallas in 1937, and in the annual West Texas art exhibitions at Fort Worth. He also had numerous solo exhibitions in Texas and exhibited at Taos. (left: The Rope Corral, 1926, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches)

In 1951, Bugbee became the first Curator of Art at Panhandle-Plains, a position he held until his death. Over two hundred thirty Bugbee works are part of the Museum's art. Exhibits of Bugbee's illustrated letters, his work in Taos, NM, and his illustrations for J. Evetts Haley's books will be ancillary to the larger retrospective

H. D. Bugbee: 100 at 100 will include works from the Museum's collection as well as objects from public and private collections across the United States. The exhibition will run through February 18, 2001.

rev. 4/18/00

Read more in Resource Library about the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum.

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

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

rev. 1/15/11

Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

This page was originally published in 2000 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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