Stark Museum of Art

Orange, TX



Stark Legacy: Selections from a Personal Collection


Showing at the Stark Museum of Art in Orange, Texas from June 22, 2000 through May of next year is an exhibition of paintings from the personal collection of Nelda C. Stark, a life-long resident of Orange, who with her husband H. J. Lutcher Stark established the charitable foundation which bears their names and served as chairman of its board of trustees for more than 30 years. (left: William H. Dunton (1878-1936), The Start for the Hills, c. 1918, oil on canvas, 42 x 34 inches, Stark Museum of Art, 31.21/393)

Housed at the Stark residence in Orange for many years, the paintings selected for this exhibition were familiar only to family and friends or visitors to the house, although a few pieces were displayed occasionally at the Stark Museum of Art after the museum opened to the public in 1978. The present display constitutes the first time that these paintings have been publicly shown as a collection.

A distinctive feature of the Stark Museum's collection is a large inventory of paintings by artists who were active in Taos, New Mexico during the first half of the 20th century. It is chiefly the Taos artists who are represented in the current exhibition which features a number of important canvases by William Herbert "Buck"Dunton, Ernest Martin Hennings, Eanger Irving Couse, and Joseph Henry Sharp. The exhibition itself is dedicated to the memory of Nelda C. Stark, who passed away on December 13, 1999.

Lutcher Stark is said to have acquired his first painting while attending the University of Texas, in Austin. The son of a prominent Southeast Texas family, he returned home to Orange following graduation in 1910 and in time assumed management of the family business, taking an active part in civic affairs and involving himself in the cultural life of the community. A man of many interests, he continued to collect paintings, sculptures, books, prints, and folios relating to American art and natural history.

In 1961 Lutcher Stark and his wife established the Nelda C. and H. J. Lutcher Stark Foundation to support the numerous charitable and educational activities in which they took an interest. When Lutcher Stark died in 1965, Nelda Stark assumed responsibility for the various Stark Foundation projects, which eventually included the creation of an art museum, across Green Avenue from the turn-of-the-century home of Stark's parents, and the construction of the Frances Ann Lutcher Theatre for the Performing Arts, also opposite the museum, on what came to be known as Stark Park, in downtown Orange.

Today the Stark Museum of Art continues to present examples of the fine and decorative arts from all of its principal holdings. Visitors from around the state, the nation, and the world come to Orange to view these exhibitions.


Read more about the Stark Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/2/11

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