No Substitute for Excitement: Collecting Texas Regionalist and Modernist Art at William Reaves | Sarah Foltz Fine Art by Christopher Trandell
“Why not? You are ill-informed, do your research, these artists were respected and shown nationally from the 1950s until now.” William Reaves: When asked, “Texas art? Really?” As you enter the wood and glass portal of William Reaves / Sarah Foltz Fine Art gallery, you don’t leave Texas behind, you confront it. The gallery design draws the eye to sweeping vistas of “Texian” landscapes and swirling sweeps of color and form from the mind’s eyes of Regionalist and Modernist Texas artists from 1900 to 1975 and into the present day.
Modern Quilt III, 2000 Ibsen Espada mixed media, 60 x 48 in.
Established in 2006 by William Reaves, the mission is to represent the finest Texas Contemporary Regionalists and Modernists. Investing in education, research scholarship, rediscovery and publication of the history of Texas modern art is of prime importance. Reaves says, “Our purpose is to heighten the regard for Texas artists and art through visual and history education. We wish to expand the information on Texas art to younger generations as a cultural identifier.” Presenting the rich and diverse art culture and history of the Lone Star state, Reaves / Foltz gallery showcases paintings and sculpture from the last hundred years. Masters Modernist works by Richard Stout (headline photograph) Dick Wray, Jack Boynton, and Dorothy Hood reside here along with contemporary artists, Ibsen Espada, Ken Mazzu and Erik Sprogue.
Old 3400 Montrose, 2016 Ken Mazzu Watercolor 22 x 30 in
Reaves / Foltz gallery is not merely a showcase; artists and their works are given full attention to biography, medium, and history. The gallery hosts regular events featuring exhibits and talks by Texas masters and historians on Saturday afternoons. The Modernist experiments in bold expressionist forms and color while the Regionalist captures Texas landscapes, constructs, and flora. Throughout the mid-twentieth century, according to Midcentury Modern Art in Texas, by Katie Robinson Edwards, Texas lagged behind the New York modern art scene. The immensity of the state’s geography created an isolation allowing disparate artists to craft their own regionalist styles in modernism and abstract expressionism.
Half Inside The Sea, 1960 Bill Reily Painting oil on canvas 16 x 20 in
This regional separation protected Texas Modernists from dilution and commercialism of the genre in the fifties and sixties. Lone Star artists were showing in Chicago and New York, creating schools and groups that advanced the style to great acclaim despite critical lament of “flaccid” “methodical abstractions” of “university art department” work in New York (Edwards). Reaves realized early on that Texas artists were relatively scarce in the gallery scene of the 70s and 80s. “You generally found works in antique and collectible shops, attics and closets, but mostly through relationships with the artists in their studios.” As an art historian and aficionado of the Regionalists and Modernist genres, he created the gallery to promulgate Texas artists. He is also a founding member of CASETA: Center for the Advancement of Early Texas Art, based in the central Texas town of San Angelo. He is always amazed by the rediscovery of early works and unknown artists. His favorite rediscovery is two works by Ruth Euler, the first Administrator of the Houston Museum of Fine Art. Nine of her paintings are known to exist after she “destroyed” her work, “She didn’t think they were up to standard.” According to Sarah Foltz, Partner and Gallery Director, the interest in Texas art is escalating, with a growing regional southwest, national and international clientele. “The work is on the potential crest of a wave. This year was our best yet. We continue to grow every year.” This is no surprise; as a client, I am impressed with the personal relationship she develops through her breadth of knowledge and generous hospitality. Foltz is proud of the gallery’s partnerships with Museum of Fine Art Houston, Contemporary Art Museum, Menil Collection, Dallas Art Museum and many more around Texas and the southwest region. Other Houston venues for the aspiring connoisseur of Texas artists are Inman Gallery, Moody Gallery, and in Dallas, Valley House. The William Reaves | Sarah Foltz Fine Art is where the artist, expert, and lover of Texas Art is welcomed home. . Visit their comprehensive website at reavesart.com Gallery hours are from Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm. 2143 Westheimer, Houston, Texas 77098, 713.521.7500
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