The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004 Page: 436
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
eventually acquired a national and international reputation within its
area of specialization.
Fort Worth's unique tripartite museum system is underpinned by five
pillars from the past. The essential history needed to understand the rise
of the museum system is contained within these five categories. Laid a
half-century to a full century ago, these foundation pieces were fash-
ioned by people who were driven by the siren song of art, but who
labored without knowing exactly where their efforts would lead.
The collecting careers of Amon G. Carter and Kay Kimbell are
unquestionably two of the most important foundation elements in Fort
Worth museum history. The attraction felt by these two wealthy men for
certain artists and certain styles of art established the basic identities of
the institutions that later bore their names. A third foundation element
was laid in the 193os and 1940s with the appearance of the Fort Worth
Circle, a group of young modernist painters who embraced a decidedly
cutting-edge esthetic. Their work broadened the artistic tastes of the
community and fired the zeal of a new generation of activist collectors.
An even earlier foundation element was the career of painter Murray
P. Bewley, Fort Worth's first native-born fine artist. Born in 1884, Bewley
pursued his career primarily in New York and Paris, and achieved a level
of success that opened a window to the wider world of art for those he
left behind in Fort Worth.1
The long career of Jennie Scott Scheuber, Fort Worth's first public
librarian, comprises the final and perhaps most crucial pillar on which
the museum system now rests. Her vision of an institutional presence
devoted to visual art provided cultural goals for a community much in
need of them. It was a vision first expressed in the 189os.2 The earliest
groundwork aimed at incorporating fine art into Fort Worth cultural life
was accomplished by Scheuber and people allied with her.
Among the roster of Fort Worthians who heeded Scheuber's earliest
calls for support was a transplanted Texan from Tennessee named Samuel
Moore Gaines. Gaines contributed mightily to the cause of visual art at a
time when few men in Fort Worth were interested in such things. As a pio-
neering art collector, his career played out long before Fort Worth's first
1 "The French Connection: Murray Bewley and James Blake," an exhibition organized by the
Old Jail Art Center, Albany, Texas, Nov. 3, 2001-Feb. o10, 2002. This retrospective and accompa-
nying catalogue offer the most recent examination of Bewley's influence on the cultural life of
I The mitial organizational meeting of the Fort Worth Public Library Association was held
April 2, 1892, in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Scheuber. The charter of the new association
was granted by Texas Secretary of State George W Smith on April 25, 1892. Among the stated
objectives of the library association was "(to erect) a library building and an art gallery and the
accumulation and maintenance of a free public library, and the accumulation of paintings and
artistic work of every character for the enjoyment and cultivation of our people."
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004, periodical, 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/m1/494/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.