Posts Tagged 'Dallas Art Association'

A Founding Mother

While using the archives for a small research project (more on that in a future post), I was reminded of one of the Dallas Art Association’s (DAA) founding members, Elizabeth Patterson Kiest (Mrs. Edwin J. Kiest). Mrs. Kiest attended the first meeting of the group of art supporters that formed the DAA on January 19, 1903 and she served as DAA Treasurer from its inception to her death in 1917, a century ago this year.

Bronze plaque in honor of Elizabeth Patterson Kiest for her long service as founder and Treasurer of the Dallas Art Association.

The Kiest Memorial Fund was established in her honor, with a plaster cast of Winged Victory as the first purchase. (The piece is no longer in the collection.)

An interior view of the Free Public Art Gallery space in the Textile and Fine Arts Building, with the plaster cast of Winged Victory in the upper left.

Beginning in 1932 the Kiest Memorial Fund was used to fund a purchase prize for the annual Dallas Allied Arts exhibitions, from which works by major Dallas artists were acquired for the collection including Jerry Bywaters, Otis Dozier, De Forrest Judd, Everett Spruce, Charles T. Bowling, Allie Tennant, Perry Nichols, Donald S. Vogel, William Lester, and Octavio Medellin.

In addition to the DAA, Mrs. Kiest was involved in a number of civic and women’s clubs, the foremost being the Dallas Shakespeare Club and the Matheon Club. The Dallas Shakespeare Club would later donate Road to the Hills by Julian Onderdonk to the Museum in memory of Mrs. Kiest.

Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Dallas Shakespeare Club in memory of Elizabeth Patterson Kiest


Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art. 

ARTifacts: Textile and Fine Arts Building

One hundred and five years ago, in April 1909, the Dallas Art Association (the parent organization of what is now the DMA) presented the City of Dallas with their collection and opened in a new permanent gallery space in the Textile and Fine Arts Building in Fair Park as the Dallas Free Public Art Gallery.


Textile and Fine Arts Building, Fair Park, c. 1909

Textile and Fine Arts Building, Fair Park, c. 1909

The DAA collection had been shown in the Art Room at the Dallas Public Library from 1903 to 1909 but was in need of larger quarters. Beginning with the opening of the new gallery on April 17, 1909, the collection’s hours were Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., and entry was free.

Dallas Free Public Art Gallery in the Textile and Fine Arts Building, Fair Park, c. 1909-1929.

Dallas Free Public Art Gallery in the Textile and Fine Arts Building, Fair Park, c. 1909-1929

The collection remained on display in the Textile and Fine Arts Building for twenty years and was then relocated to the former Halaby Galleries space in the Majestic Theatre Building, opening April 30, 1929.

Hillary Bober is the digital archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

The Dallas Museum of Art’s Founding Women

In honor of Women’s History Month, we would like to introduce you to the founder and first four women presidents of the Dallas Art Association from the first decade of the 20th century. The Dallas Art Association (DAA) was founded in 1903 to offer art interest and education through exhibitions and lectures; to purchase works of art on a regular basis and form a permanent collection; to sponsor the work of local artists; to solicit support of the arts from individuals and businesses; and to honor citizens who support the arts. The DAA, after a number of name changes, became the Dallas Museum of Art.

Mrs. May Dickson Exall is considered to be the founder of the Dallas Art Association. In January 1903, Mrs. Exall, then president of the Dallas Carnegie Library Board of Trustees, invited all those interested to meet in the Art Room of the library to form a permanent art organization. About 80 people attended and the new organization was named the Dallas Art Association, and a 21-member board of trustee was established.

Mrs. Grace Leake Dexter was the first president of the Dallas Art Assocation for 1903, and was a board member from 1903 to 1906. Mrs. Dexter was an amateur painter and a civic leader.

From the Collection of the Texas/Dallas History and Archives Division, Dallas Public Library; Image #PA92-1/22

Mrs. Lulie Huey Lane was President in 1907. Mrs. Lane was a gifted musician with an unusually fine voice and also held leadership roles in a variety of other civic organizations.

Mrs. Robbie Buckner Westerfield was DAA president in 1908. She was also a leader in religious and women’s club work in Dallas.

1923.2 "Portrait of Mrs. George K. Meyer" by Francis Luis Mora. Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Mrs. Sallie Griffis Meyer was president of the DAA from 1909 to 1926. Mrs. Meyer was one of Dallas’s earliest and most prominent arts patrons. In addition to her long tenure as DAA president, she was also superintendent in charge of art for the State Fair of Texas.

Discover more about the DMA’s history on the Museum’s web site.

Hillary Bober is the Digital Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.


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