More than Meets the Eye


Sometimes we associate certain objects with specific people, places, or memories. A seemingly ordinary object can hold very personal meanings. When I was young, my grandmother gave me a rose pendant. It consisted of three layers, each with small images carved into the surface. I wore it throughout my childhood and adolescence and remember frequently running my fingers over the textured surfaces when I felt anxious. To anyone else this rose pendant may seem to be a simple trinket, but to me it holds significance and reminds me of my grandmother.

2001_358_A_F   PortraitofPapacrop

Similarly, there is often more to a work of art than meets the eye. In Family Portrait 1963 by Martin Delabano, the artist has depicted his mother sitting in a red chair. To most viewers, this may simply seem to reflect the reality that she was sitting in a red chair; but in fact, this chair is significant to both the artist and his family. The chair is a family heirloom that also appears in a painting by Barney Delabano, Martin’s father. In Portrait of Papa, Barney paints his own father sitting in the same red chair.

During July and August, the DMA is asking you to discover the stories behind works of art in our collection and then share your own stories about significant objects in your life. DMA Friends who complete all three activities below can earn the More Than Meets the Eye Badge with codes gathered upon the completion of each activity.

Discover stories behind other works of art in our collection by completing the More Than Meets The Eye smART phone tour. Bring your web-enabled device and pick up a list of the suggested stops on this tour in the Center for Creative Connections (C3).

Stop by the C3 Art Spot to re-create an object from your home that holds a special meaning for you. Fill out a label for your creation and tell us why this object is meaningful.



Contribute your photographs of objects that hold a special meaning or personal story to the C3 wall of monitors. Simply join our Flickr group and share your images. For more information on how to participate click here.

Can’t make it to the DMA today? No worries! You can start participating right now from your computer at home. Look around you, what objects do you see nearby that are special to you? Grab your camera (or smartphone), take a picture, upload it to Flickr, and add it to our group. One step down, two to go!

Artworks Shown:

  • Martin Delabano, Family Portrait 1963, 2001, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bryant M. Hanley, Jr., Lorine and David H. Gibson, and Sonny Burt and Bob Butler.
  • Barney Delabano, Portrait of Papa, 1972-73, Dallas Museum of Art, Barney Delabano Memorial Fund and gift of the Delabano family.
  • Wreath, Greek, 4th century B.C., Dallas Museum of Art, Museum League Purchase Funds, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., and Cecil H. and Ida M. Green in honor of Virginia Lucas Nick.

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Coordinator

1 Response to “More than Meets the Eye”

  1. 1 Family Portrait: 1963 | Martin Delabano: Musings of an Artist Trackback on July 31, 2015 at 1:21 pm
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