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Tyler Museum of Art to Show Rare Works by Texas Artist L.O. Griffith

Lone Tree by L.O. Griffith (Collection of Tom and Marsha French)

Lone Tree by L.O. Griffith (Collection of Tom and Marsha French)

L.O. Griffith: Painting the Texas Landscape
Tyler Museum of Art
September 19, 2010 through January 2, 2011

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.

“This exhibition 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. “The works on view at the Tyler Museum of Art form a story of art on the range, of an artist who traveled by primitive means to reach the focus of his artistic fixation–the vast Texas plains.”

Griffith’s significant Texas oeuvre remained unknown to the museum world until recently, as he spent most of his working life in Indiana from 1922 until his death in 1956. However, he grew up in Dallas, and took his first art lessons from Frank Reaugh (1860-1945) an artist and teacher who came to be regarded in later years as the “Dean of Texas Artists.” Griffith accompanied Reaugh and his other students on “sketching expeditions,” traveling for years by covered wagon into West Texas.

The artist participated in many exhibitions between 1892 and 1930 in Dallas, where he kept a winter studio. He won awards in the 1892 Texas State Fair as well as the Edgar B. Davis Texas Wildflower Competitive Exhibitions in San Antonio in 1928 and 1929. Through his soft hand and delicate rendering, Griffith is able to depict a rough, West Texas landscape from which he found seemingly endless inspiration. 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. A full color catalogue published by the TMA will accompany the exhibition. Admission to the exhibition is $7 for adults; $5 for students and seniors; and free for TMA Members and children age 12 and under.

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, Curator of Paintings and Sculpture 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.

L.O. Griffith: Painting the Texas Landscape is organized by Tyler Museum of Art. The exhibition is guest curated by Rebecca Lawton. Signature Sponsors are Mr. and Mrs. Harold Cameron. Underwriters are Dr. Thomas and Debra Bochow. Patrons are Ken and Debra Hamlett. Contributors are Mary Jon and J. P. Bryan Foundation, Kathryn and Morris Matson, and Target. Collectors’ Circle Sponsors are Mr. and Mrs. John Glass, Jr.; A.W. Riter, Jr. Family Foundation; Robert M. Rogers Foundation; and Dr. and Mrs. Frank Ward. Corporate Sponsor is Genecov Group. (Sponsors as of print date.)

Schedule of Events & Activities

Sunday, September 19, 2010L.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.

Lone Tree by L.O. Griffith (Collection of Tom and Marsha French)

Lone Tree by L.O. Griffith (Collection of Tom and Marsha French)

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