The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980

Book Reviews

disputable charm and, more significantly, historical authenticity. His
oil paintings reflect the formal training which he received at the art
academy in Dresden: stiff, pedantic, self-conscious, and a bit hokey,
lacking the warmth, vitality, and grace of his sketches. Nonetheless the
work of this immigrant artist is well worth knowing, and no better in-
troduction is conceivable than the one provided here by Bill Newcomb
and Mary Carnahan.
Little is known of Richard Petri beyond his vital statistics. There was
no diary, journal, or cache of letters with which to bring him to life; he
remains in the shadows. The reader who wants nothing more than these
known facts may consult Newcomb's article on Petri in the October 1978
issue of this Quarterly. The author and his researcher, accepting this
paucity of information about the life of the subject, have borne down
heavily on his times in a series of truly excellent overviews.
The first chapter, for example, tells of tumultuous times in Germany
on the eve of Petri's departure, a second summarizes the story of early
German settlement in Texas, a third is a deft account of the Texas In-
dian tribes at the time of Petri's arrival, a fourth traces Petri's all too
brief life in Texas (1851-1857), that ended with his death by drowning
in the Pedernales River, and a final chapter is a discussion and evalua-
tion of his work, especially the Indian drawings.
These chapters are well organized and well written syntheses that
stand quite satisfactorily by themselves. Taken together they fix Petri
in his time and place. Over loo sketches and watercolors and 35 paint-
ings are reproduced for the reader's edification and pleasure.
The glowing format given this book on Petri is the work of Rich
Hendel who has since returned to the East Coast-a real loss to the
printing arts in Texas. Hendel obviously knows how to design boldly,
imaginatively, and yet tastefully. Footnotes, incidentally, have been as-
signed to the outer margin of each page. Whether this is innovation or
irritation will depend on the individual reader's point of view. Taken
in whole, most will agree, however, that this biography of Richard Petri
is a triumph for everyone concerned.
Institute of Texan Cultures AL LOWMAN
American Buildings and Their Architects. By William H. Pierson, Jr.
(New York: Anchor Press, 1978. Pp. 455. Preface, illustrations,
glossary, bibliography, index. $12.95.)
American Buildings and Their Architects, by William H. Pierson,

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 25, 2016.

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