Gather Round Ya'll…

My colleague, Holly Harrison, Administrative Assistant for European and American Art, recently reinstalled the 4th floor Texas landing, bringing together artworks about cowpokes, gunslingers, and a cowgirl or two for Cowboys: On the Range Between Art and Life. The installation, which includes paintings, photographs, and works on paper, invites us to imagine life on the range and to consider our often-romantic ideas about cowboys.  Featured are photographs by Geoff Winningham, Laura Wilson, and Erwin E. Smith, and paintings by Frank Reaugh and Perry Nichols.

Erwin E. Smith, Four Cowpunchers Shooting Craps on a Saddle Blanket in Roundup Camp, JA Ranch, Texas, 1908

Bank Langmore, Portrait of Old Cowboy Vern Torrance, Padlocks Ranch, Montana, 1974

One of my favorite works is Clara McDonald Williamson’s Get Along Little Dogies.  Williamson’s painting is a childhood memory of growing up in Iredell, Texas—a stopover on the Chisholm Trail.  The artist, in a white dress and blue bonnet, watches from a distance as cowboys drive a herd of longhorns across the Bosque River, heading north to Kansas.   

Clara McDonald Williamson, Get Along Little Dogies, 1945

Get Along Little Dogies is one of four paintings featured in the Go van Gogh outreach program for 4th graders, Art of the Lone Star State.  The program highlights the diverse landscape of Texas and key events in its history— from the devastation of a Dust Bowl-ravaged Panhandle in the 1930s to the lush beauty of fields of Hill Country bluebonnets.  After discussing these places, students create mixed media collages of their favorite Texas place. 

Below is a collage example I made, inspired by a favorite Texas memory–the week I spent on ranchland just outside Mexia, Texas with some real cowboys.  I didn’t quite earn my spurs on that trip (cows are a tough bunch to reason with!), but I did appreciate the hard-work and beauty of life on the range—something you definitely take away from the new installation…

Make a resolution to come see it, and have a Happy New Year, ya’ll!

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Learning Partnerships with Schools and the Community

on the range!


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