Posts Tagged 'Alamo'

Friday Photo Post: Remember the Alamo!

For today’s Friday photo post, I am focusing on a  special subject- the Alamo. As an avid lover of Texas history, I traveled to San Antonio over the weekend to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo. While inside the famous shrine, I viewed a painting of David Crockett, which made me think of related works of art in the DMA’s Collection. I included these below along with pictures of my travels. I hope you enjoy them!

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Amy Wolf
Coordinator of Gallery Teaching

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Are you ready for a picnic, fireworks, and to “remember the Alamo”?  It’s time to celebrate Texas Independence Day!

One hundred and seventy-five years ago, on March 2, 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico when Sam Houston and fifty-seven other men formed the Republic of Texas by signing the Texas Declaration of Independence. The Lone Star State’s triumphant struggle for independence ended a few days later at the siege of the Alamo. Among the approximately 250 brave men who died there were William R. Travis, Jim Bowie, and Davy Crockett.

A sketch of this legendary battle by Robert Jenkins Onderdonk (father of the Texas impressionist painter Julian Onderdonk) is part of the DMA’s collections. This preliminary drawing depicts Crockett in the center wearing his trademark coonskin cap. He swings a flintlock overhead, about to club advancing Mexicans who have broken through the building’s south gate.

Robert Jenkins Onderdonk, American 1852-1917, "Sketch for 'Fall of the Alamo,'" , c. 1901, Oil and pencil on paper board, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Eleanor Onderdonk, 1960.185

Davy Crockett was a celebrated 19th-century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier, and politician. He moved from his native Tennessee to serve in the Texas revolution and died at the Battle of the Alamo. A notable work in the DMA’s collections is William Henry Huddle’s portrait of the courageous young hero who made the ultimate sacrifice for the young Texas Republic. Best known for painting scenes from the Texas war of independence, Huddle also completed a series of portraits of Texas governors. In the DMA’s painting, Huddle depicts the hero wearing his hunting clothes with his trusty rifle by his side. Although historians debate many of the details surrounding Crockett’s death, they all agree that he died on March 6, 1836, on the last day of the siege of the Alamo.

William Henry Huddle, American, 1847-1892, "Davy Crockett," 1889, Oil on masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation, 1987.47

The DMA owns some lovely images of this treasured building. One by Plano, Texas, artist Frank Klepper is quite different from Onderdonk’s combative scene. By depicting the building on a tranquil, starry night, Klepper turns the battleground into a hallowed shrine that is the pride of every Texan.

Klepper, The Alamo

Frank Klepper, American, 1890-1952, "The Alamo," early 1930s, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the History Club, 1933.7

Martha MacLeod is the European and American Art Curatorial Administrative Assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Davy Crockett – King of the Wild Frontier

 March 6, 2010 will mark the 174th anniversary of the epic battle of the Alamo. The Alamo was constructed in 1724 as a Spanish mission. It served as a home for missionaries and their Indian residents. Today, the mission is best known for the thirteen-day siege that occured during the fight for Texas independance, culminating in the final battle on March 6, 1836.

Davy Crockett

Davy Crockett, 1889, William Henry Huddle, Dallas Museum of Art, 1987.47

To pay homage to this event in Texas history, I wanted to look closely at the Museum’s sketch of Davy Crockett, one of the most famous defenders at the Alamo. The 1889 oil sketch by William Henry Huddle shows Crockett dressed in what appears to be deer skin hunting clothes. In his right hand he holds his trademark coonskin cap; his left hand grips his gun, Old Betsy. The woods, which were quickly painted, can be seen behind Crockett. Huddle’s sketch paved the way for a larger oil painting currently found in the Texas Capitol.

What I find most interesting about this work of art is the glimpse of Crockett doing something he most loved – hunting. Taken out of the context of the Alamo, which mythologized and immortalized him, he stoically stands as the “King of the Wild Frontier.” I believe if Crockett had lived to see this sketch, he would have been very pleased.

Amy Wolf
Teaching Programs Coordinator


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