Category Archives: Highlighted

Lee Estate Gifts to Amon Carter Museum

On behalf of the heir to the Marjorie Johnson Lee estate, one of the dealers who is working with FAE recently facilitated the gift of seven works on paper from the Lee Estate to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas.  Six works were by Lee herself and the other was a work from Lee’s collection by the Austin artist Kelly Fearing.  Spencer Wigmore, Assistant Curator at the Amon Carter Museum said of the gift:  We’re quite happy with the selection, which should give us some flexibility to acknowledge her various contributions when we show works by Fort Worth School artists in the galleries…. 

2019.12, Circus Interior #1, Oct. 1979, Opaque and transparent watercolor, pastel, ink with paper collage pieces. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Gift of Marjorie Johnson Lee Estate.

During the earliest conceptual discussions of FAE’s long term goals, the idea of using the platform to facilitate the gifting of artwork to museums and other public institutions seemed practical and mutually beneficial.  There are many cases were an institution, because of budget issues and priorities, would not necessarily purchase an artwork from an artist they considered worthy of adding to their collection, but would be very happy to add a representative example if it was gifted.

2019.16, Untitled [Still Life], ca. 1950, watercolor and ink on paper, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Gift of Marjorie Johnson Lee Estate.
Since many of the artworks offered on FAE come from artists or their heirs who are thinking about issues of legacy or making sure that the artworks in their care are well placed, FAE and the dealers who participate have an opportunity to help facilitate their wishes.

2019.11, Untitled [Surrealist Figure], ca. 1942, lithograph, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Gift of Marjorie Johnson Lee Estate.
Although there are several other estates that have shown interest, this is the first gift of artworks to a museum that came about because of FAE and an associated dealer’s direct involvement with an artist’s estate.   We are hopeful that this act of generosity will inspire even more artists, or their heirs, to consider making works available for gifting.  As interest in this informal gifting program expands, FAE and the dealers we work with will be reaching out to let institutions know what is being offered.

2019.13, Circus Interior #2, Oct. 1979, Opaque and transparent watercolor, pastel, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Gift of Marjorie Johnson Lee Estate.

If you would like more information on Marjorie Johnson Lee and her work, there is a blog post listed on the postings menu at left and a link to currently available works by her here.

2019.14, Untitled [Harlequin figure], ca. 1948, etching and aquatint, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Gift of Marjorie Johnson Lee Estate.

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Browse fine artworks available to purchase on FAE here.  Follow us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter to stay updated about FAE and new blog posts.

Visit FAE’s Collections Blog here to learn more about artworks available on FAE. 

For comments about this blog or suggestions for a future post, contact Madeleine at mbogan@fineartestates.com

 

Early Career Paintings by Jim Stoker

THE ETERNAL NATURALIST

Valley House Gallery is pleased to offer a selection of early works by San Antonio artist, Jim Stoker.   

Jim Stoker was born in 1935 in Nash, Texas, and reared in Atlanta, a rural town in East Texas. He received a BFA in Applied Art from The University of Texas at Austin in 1957, and an MA in painting, drawing, and printmaking from New Mexico Highlands University in 1962 where he studied with Elmer Schooley. Stoker painted throughout a teaching career which culminated in a 30-year tenure at Trinity University in San Antonio. 

Jim Stoker, American, Born 1935
Jim Stoker, American, Born 1935

Most of the Stoker works we are offering range from the early 1970’s to the early 1980’s, when he was teaching at Trinity University in San Antonio. Stylistically, in the early 70’s Stoker’s oil paintings tended towards representational landscapes with figures at work. His compositions often incorporated incongruous animals milling around the workers or the tools they used.

The Hi-Ranger Rides Again, 1970
The Hi-Ranger Rides Again, 1970

In the mid-70’s the subjects and style of his work changed to flat colorful interiors, resembling paper cut out collages more than paintings.

Woman with Checkered Wall, 1975
Woman with Checkered Wall, 1975

In the late 70’s and early 80’s, he and his wife would spend the Summers in Santa Fe, NM where he painted a series of paintings focusing on the architecture and its relationship to the natural occurring and the planted flora.

House in Santa Fe, 1979
House in Santa Fe, 1979

He later said of that time, you used to see Hollyhocks everywhere in Santa Fe in the late 80’s.  You would think it was the state flower there were so many.  Now, you hardly see any when traveling around that area.

His work became more representational in style and focused more on nature and the environment. 

Jim and his wife Elouise are both naturalists who helped form the San Antonio, Texas chapter of the Sierra Club. Stoker’s efforts to protect the natural fauna and flora around San Antonio led to a series of paintings he titled No Place to Live:… The theme of this series pointed to the animals’ plight when humans are taking over their natural living spaces. 

Brown Trout, 2000/1, oil on canvas, 30 x 42 inches

Jim’s current paintings primarily focus on the riparian zone of the Guadalupe river near a cabin that has been in his wife’s family for generations.  He has created a unique technique he calls Confetti Splatter that he uses to create a multicolored dot matrix as an underpainting  for his naturalistic landscape compositions. 

Visit FAE’S Artist Info page about Jim Stoker here. On FineArtEstates.com you can browse available artworks and read more about this Texas Artist.

Browse fine artworks available to purchase on FAE here.  Follow us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter to stay updated about FAE and new blog posts.

Visit FAE’s Collections Blog here to learn more about artworks available on FAE. 

Drawings from the Estate of Everett Franklin Spruce

TEXAS’ MOST CELEBRATED MODERNIST

FAE is excited to have a selection of drawings available from the estate of Texas’ most celebrated mid-century modernist painter, Everett Franklin Spruce, consigned from one of his four children, Henry Spruce.  Spurce is primarily known for his contributions to the formation of a unique Regional moment that started in Dallas, Texas in 1932.

Unlike the Regionalist movement that began in the upper Midwest and focused on the bucolic rural farmlands and farm life that embodied that region,  the Texas version took a different approach, focusing on the effects of improper land management that ultimately caused the dust bowl.   It was also a broadly based movement that was taken up by many Texas novelists, playwrights, choreographers, and most all other artistic disciplines.

Everett Franklin Spruce (1908-2002)

Everett Franklin Spruce was born in Holland, Arkansas on December 25, 1907.  When Spruce was 4 years old his father moved the family to Adams Mountain in Pope County and then later to Mulberry, Arkansas, where Spruce attended high school.  Spruce showed artistic talent during these early years, primarily in the drawings he did of the Arkansas landscape.  His abilities were called to the attention of noted Dallas painters Olin and Katherine Travis.  The Travises had established the Dallas Art Institute in Dallas and had summer painting camps in Arkansas’ Ozark mountains.  Hearing about this young prodigy and recognizing a burgeoning talent, they offered him a scholarship at the Dallas Art Institute.  Spruce moved to Dallas and studied at the DAI from 1926 – 1929 with Travis and another Texas artist, Thomas M. Stell, Jr.  In 1934 Spruce married Alice Virginia Kramer, a young woman who was also taking classes at the art institute.

In 1931 Spruce took a position as gallery assistant at the Free Public Art Gallery, renamed the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in 1933, and was promoted to registrar in 1936 when the museum opened its doors at its new location in Fair Park as part of the Texas Centennial Celebration.

Everett Spruce “Cypress,” Pen & Ink on Paper, 17 1/4 x 17 1/4 inches (paper size).

In the early 1930’s, Spruce became one of Texas’s premier Regionalist artists.   He quickly developed a national reputation.  He was invited to show his paintings in exhibitions across the nation including the Kansas City Art Institute (Kansas City, Missouri); the Rockefeller Center (New York, New York); the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, New York); the Palace of Fine Arts (San Francisco, California); and the New York World’s Fair Exhibition (New York, New York).

In 1940 Spruce, with only a high school education, joined the art faculty at the University of Texas at Austin where he began as an instructor in life drawing and creative design.  From 1949 – 1951 Spruce served as Chairman of the Department of Art, and in 1954 he was promoted to the position of Professor of Art.  In 1958 Spruce was the first artist featured in the Blaffer Series on Texas Art, published by the University of Texas Press. The portfolio, titled A Portfolio of Eight Paintings, includes the essay “Everett Spruce: An Appreciation” by Jerry Bywaters, then director of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts.  Spruce was also honored by the American Federation of the Arts’ offer to sponsor a traveling exhibition of his paintings in many venues throughout the Midwest and Southeast, starting at the McNay Museum in San Antonio.

Everett Spruce, Untitled (Plants), mixed media on paper, 17 1/2 x 19 inches

In 1974 Spruce retired from the Art Department as Professor Emeritus, yet continued to paint until he was 88 years old.  Spruce died in Austin in 2002 at the age of 94, survived by his twin daughters and two sons.   Spruce’s paintings were collected by many of America’s major museums including the Metropolitan Museum in New York; Dallas Museum of Art; M.H. DeYoung Museum in San Francisco; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Phillips Gallery, Washington D.C.; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, to name a few. 

Spruce’s drawings were rarely used as studies for paintings.  The vastness and majesty evoked in his paintings serve as a counterpoint to the drawings’ tighter, more detail-oriented focus.  He drew inspiration and subject matter for his expressionist landscapes from numerous weekend outings with his family into West Texas, and South to the Texas Gulf Coast.  He would pull over to the side of the road whenever something in the landscape caught his attention and, to his family’s distress, memorize every aspect of the scene for 15 minutes or longer.  From these memories of place, he would create paintings or drawings of these inspiration points in his studio, often months later.  He did not work from photographs or sketchbook, letting his memory serve as reference.   

Everett Spruce, “The Gunner” Pen & Ink on paper, 12 x 9 1/2 inches

Spruce’s drawing style became freer as his career evolved, producing increasingly abstract and expressionist works.  Even Spruce’s latest drawings show an assuredness of hand and a confidence of purpose.  His evocative depictions of Texas landscape have cemented his Lone Star Regionalist status, and stand as a testament to his love of the land.   

From May 30, 2020 through September 20th, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art will honor Everett  Spruce with his first major retrospective.  The exhibition will travel to the San Antonio Museum of Art and open on October 10th and close on January 3, 2021.

There will be a comprehensive fully illustrated catalog co-published by Texas A&M Press and the Amon Carter.  The primary essay will be authored by the exhibition curator, Shirley Reece-Hughes.

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Valley Visit FineArtEstates.com today to browse these artworks and more; available to Buy Now or place a Reserve at your preferred price level.