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Taos Modern: Paintings by Herbert Dunton from the Stark Museum of Art, Orange

July 17, 2004 - January 30, 2005


The work of Herbert "Buck" Dunton (1878-1936), one of the founding members of the Taos Society of Artists in New Mexico, is the subject of Taos Modern: Paintings by Herbert Dunton from the Stark Museum of Art, Orange on view in the Alice Pratt Brown Gallery in the Caroline Wiess Law Building July 17 through January 30, 2005. This is the fourth in a series of exhibitions presented since 2001 in partnership with the Stark Museum of Art in Orange, Texas. The first exhibition of Dunton´s work at the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston) took place in 1925, at the peak of his popularity. Taos Modern presents 10 paintings and 20 oil sketches. (right: W. H. Dunton, American, 1878-1936, McMullin Guide, c. 1934, oil on canvas. The Stark Museum of Art, Orange,Texas)

Like Frederic Remington, who is represented in the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston) collection, Dunton was an academically trained artist who began his career as an illustrator of western scenes. Dunton´s early works reflect a nostalgic ideal of the West-a land of wide-open spaces and heroic cowboys. His fascination with the West was such that he made a number of trips west between 1896 and 1911, working as a cowboy or hunter in the summers. He first visited the village of Taos, New Mexico in 1912, moved there permanently in 1914, and, in 1925, became a founding member of the first artist colony west of the Mississippi.

Dunton´s early career coincided with the enormously popular interest in the cowboy in the first years of the twentieth century, and he was published in magazines such as Collier´s, Cosmopolitan Magazine, and Harper's Monthly. Later, in Taos, Dunton became increasingly preoccupied with issues of color and form in response to modern artistic developments and sensibilities. In contrast to some of his colleagues who were drawn to a romanticized view of the American Indian, Dunton chose as his subjects the thick foliage and animal life of Taos´s outlying areas. In works such as McMullin Guide (c. 1934) and October Gold (c. 1930) Dunton´s dynamic brushwork and painterly palette transform the canvases into lyrical patterns of color and light. Taos Modern provides visitors an opportunity to see his work in the context of the Museum of Fine Arts´s (Houston) small but choice selection of Taos pictures, as well as its large holdings of works by Remington. (right: W. H. Dunton, American, 1878-1936, October Gold, c. 1930, oil on canvas. The Stark Museum of Art, Orange,Texas)


Stark Museum of Art

The Stark Museum of Art, which opened to the public in 1978 as one of many projects initiated by the Nelda C. and H. J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, is considered one of the United States´ fine collections of Western American art. The collections of the museum reflect the Stark family´s interest in the land, the wildlife, and the people of the American West. H. J. Lutcher Stark, who focused on acquiring American paintings, drawings, sculptures, books, folios, and prints, formed the collection primarily in the 1940s. Initially Stark´s interests focused upon the works of contemporary Southwestern painters including the Taos Society of Artists whom he encountered and befriended en route to his vacation ranch in Colorado. Over the years, his interests expanded to include the earlier works of such artists of the American West as George Catlin, Alfred Jacob Miller, John Mix Stanley, Paul Kane, Albert Bierstadt, and Frederic Remington.



Taos Modern is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Stark Museum of Art, Orange, Texas, and is presented under the direction of Emily Neff, curator of American painting and sculpture. (right: W. H. Dunton, American, 1878-1936, Sunset in the Foothills, oil on canvas, The Stark Museum of Art, Orange,Texas)


RLM Editor's note: RLM readers may also enjoy:

W. Herbert Dunton and American Art; essay by Michael Grauer (9/23/03)
For Southwest art history and Western art, enjoy articles and essays inluding American Impressionism Goes West, an essay by Charles C. Eldredge; Remington: The Color of Night; Women Artist Pioneers of New Mexico, an article by Dottie Indyke; A Century of Western Art; Southwestern Colonial Art, an essay by Robert William Brown; The Pictoral Record of the Old West: the Beginning of the Taos School of Art, an essay by Robert Taft; Painters in Taos, New Mexico Prior to 1940; Taos Society of Artists, an article by Sarah Beserra; "New Deal" Art in New Mexico, an article by Kathryn Flynn; How the Santa Fe Art Colony Began, an article by Suzanne Deats; CCA: Cowboy Artists of America; Grand Canyon Painters and Their Earliest Patron, The Santa Fe Railroad; Introduction from "Celebrating America: Masterworks from Texas Collections", an essay by Jane Myers and Barbara McCandless and Art of the American West, an essay by Peter MacMIllan Booth.


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