The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004

Alexander Phimister Proctor in Texas

PETER H. HASSRICK*
T HE AMERICAN SCULPTOR, ALEXANDER PHIMISTER PROCTOR, FIRST CON-
nected with Texas as an artist in 1931 when he was invited to create a
double equestrian monument to Gen. Robert E. Lee for Dallas. Over the
next seventeen years he was offered two more major Texas commissions
and completed one of them, the Mustangs, for the University of Texas at
Austin. Proctor's extended association with the state came at a cultural
and historical crossroads for Texas. His first commission commemorated
the old-guard view of Texas as a part of the South and its legacy. The sec-
ond monument spoke to a new and more nationally inclusive perspective
that Texas began to adopt in the mid-193os. These two works stand at ei-
ther side of that transformative bridge-one with its bronze feet cast firm-
ly in the beleaguered and resistant soul of the Confederacy and the other
with its thundering hooves charging full gallop into the promising future
of the West.
Unlike most romantics, whose lives tended to run from emotive dis-
content to mordant resignation, Alexander Phimister Proctor shouldered
through a long and rewarding life with a contagious sense of joy and mild
good humor. He embraced adventure, both physical and intellectual, and
was driven by a creative muse to great accomplishments in art. As a sculp-
tor he achieved remarkable heights that were at once tempered by a tra-
ditional Beaux-Arts aesthetic and expanded by an affection for nature
and the American frontier.
Proctor, who was born in Canada in 186o, enjoyed a long and ac-
claimed artistic career that began with drawing classes at the age of twelve
and endured into his late eighties. His pioneer family moved to Colorado
in 1871 and he began art studies in Denver. In 1885 he left for NewYork
and attended classes at the National Academy of Design and the Art Stu-
dents League. His first big commission came with the invitation to pro-
duce large plaster sculptures of North American wild animals as bridge
* Peter H. Hassrck is Founding Director Emeritus, Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of
Art of the American West, University of Oklahoma.
VOL. CVII, NO. 2 SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY OCTOBER 2003

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/. Accessed August 30, 2014.