The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968 Page: 450
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
hobby interest soon developed into a salvage obsession. He worked
compulsively for eight years, recording thousands of picture units,
until a heart attack struck him down in 1942. Some twenty years later
Kirkland's paintings were bought by the University of Texas, and now
most of them are reproduced in this book, many in full color.
This is no ordinary album of paintings. The text, written by W. W.
Newcomb, Jr., an anthropologist who has specialized in North Amer-
ican Indian cultures, is a broad-gauge study of Texas Indian rock
art, both prehistoric and historic. It is difficult to say which of the two
men is more fortunate-Kirkland for having Newcomb's analytical
skills and ability to write vigorous but lucid prose, or Newcomb for
having Kirkland's superb water-color paintings to serve as illustra-
tions. The result of this belated union of artist and writer is a book
of high quality that permits Texas rock art -to be viewed in perspective
against world rock art. Kirkland was, of course, unable to complete his
ambitious project, but his paintings provide a large and undoubtedly
representative sample of rock art in western Texas, where nearly all
the surviving Indian pictures occur.
Newcomb's text begins with a chronological account of Kirkland's
work, in which he draws heavily from journals and other field records
made by Kirkland and his wife, also an artist. This chapter shows
how carefully, methodically, and efficiently Kirkland worked, and
it gives the reader some appreciation of the difficulties under which
the Kirkland team sometimes labored. This is followed by a chapter
that presents a rationale for the analysis and interpretation of rock
art, and by another chapter that briefly surveys rock art as it is known
in Europe, Africa, Australia, and the Americas. Thereafter the rock
art of Texas is presented area by area: the Lower Pecos River, the
Big Bend, the western part of Central 'Texas, the El Paso area, and
the Texas Panhandle. The art of the lower Pecos River receives the
most attention because of its abundance, its uniqueness, and its demon-
strably long history as revealed by overpainting and changes in style
through time and also by data derived from extensive archeological
excavations. Newcomb defines and describes all the major and many
of the minor art styles in each area in Texas, indicates their time
ranges whenever possible, and compares and contrasts them with each
other and with styles elsewhere. He spares the general reader the ex-
cessive minutiae of detailed motif analysis, leaving this for later study
by symbol specialists, but he does not shrink from presenting interpre-
tive hypotheses when he thinks they are adequately supported by
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968, periodical, 1968; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/m1/500/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.