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Frank Reaugh: The Texas Frontier

July 21 - September 30, 2007


With the latest exhibition, the Art Museum of Southeast Texas (AMSET) presents reflections of a more peaceful time in Texas history through the eyes of the artist regarded as the "Dean of Texas Painters." Frank Reaugh: The Texas Frontier will be on display in the McFaddin-Ward Gallery from July 21 through September 30, 2007. (right: Photo of Charles Franklin "Frank" Reaugh, courtesy of Art Museum of Southeast Texas)

Charles Franklin "Frank" Reaugh is best known for his paintings of Texas longhorns and landscapes of the American Southwest as he saw them. He captured the beauty of the blue sky, the vast plains and the amazing canyons like no one else. Also an inventor, teacher and craftsman, Reaugh's works in oil -- and especially pastel -- are still unparalleled in Texas and the greater Southwest.

Reaugh's inspiration for his art began when he and his family moved to Terrell, Texas in 1876 from Illinois. He began sketching cattle drives as he accompanied two cattlemen throughout West Texas and later considered himself the historian of the Texas longhorn, basing his paintings on those sketches. Those field sketches resulted in his early great paintings, "Watering the Herd" (1889), "The One-O Roundup, 1888" (1894) and "Approaching Herd" (1902).

In 1888, Reaugh traveled to Europe where he studied art at the Academie Julian and was particularly attracted to the "pastel room" in the Louvre. His interest in pastels is reflected in many of his landscape paintings, which he toured with much success, especially in the upper Midwest.

Reaugh enjoyed his greatest critical success as an artist between 1890 and 1915. He exhibited works at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904 in St. Louis. He also exhibited at the prestigious National Academy of Design in New York, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Texans especially were fans of Reaugh's, as he exhibited nearly annually at the State Fair of Texas until 1930 and the Fort Worth Annual until 1937. Texans also labeled Reaugh the "Longhorn Leonardo," and made the state steer a recognized symbol of his works. As the demand for cattle grew in his paintings, the artist added them in the studio to landscapes he had sketched in the field. (right: Charles Franklin "Frank" Reaugh, San Francisco Peak,1923, oil on cardboard)

Reaugh continued his annual sketching trips to the Texas Plains until he was almost 80 years old and took many students along as well. Reaugh died in Dallas in 1945 and was buried in Terrell. His innumerable paintings -- the jewels of his career -- remain as captured memories of a time long gone.

"We are very pleased to present this exhibition to the Southeast Texas community," said AMSET Executive Director Lynn Castle. "Reaugh had such a great impact on Texas art, and you can see the special relationship he had with the early landscape of Texas and the Southwest in his work."

The exhibit is on loan from the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas. Michael R. Grauer, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs/Curator of Art at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, will present a lecture on the artist and his works during the opening reception at 7 p.m. on July 20.

This exhibition is funded by the City of Beaumont through the Southeast Texas Arts Council, the C.W. and Dorothy Anne Conn Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas, Inc. and is supported by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts.

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