Heritage, 2011, Volume 1 Page: 17
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As in many other communities, prominent, talented, and
sometimes moneyed women, who were serious about promot-
ing art, played a critical role.
sometimes moneyed women, who were
serious about promoting art, played a
critical role. As early as 1936, the Beau-
mont Women's Club sponsored juried
local exhibitions, with James Chill-
man, the first director of the Museum
of Fine Arts, Houston, serving as juror in
1938. By the 1940s, the Club had a self-
described museum department and be-
gan developing a permanent collection.
Beaumont was not the only city in
the area with artistic aspirations. The
Port Arthur Art Association hosted
workshops and lectures in the mid-
1940s by such prominent Texas figures
as artist-teacher Coreen Mary Spell-
man and Ola McNeill Davidson, the
influential Houston art teacher and
painter, who came to Port Arthur to lec-
ture on a loan exhibition from New York's
Museum of Modern Art.
One artist who emerged from the
prosperity of East Texas to paint in a
modern style was Katherine Green
Baker. The daughter of a timber fam-
ily, she traveled extensively and studied
with major Texas artists, such as Ray-
mond Everett and Alexandre Hogue,
and in Paris with Cubist-inspired John
Barber. Baker exhibited in the impor-
tant 1936 Texas Centennial Exhibition
and the 1937 National Exhibition of
American Art at New York's Rock-
efeller Center. Her Untitled (Railroad
Tracks) (see image on bottom left, oppo-
site page), depicts people from a differ-
ent social background than her own.
The painting reveals the influence
of her regionalist and modern in-
fluences: she uses simplified, flat-
tened planes of color, anchoring the
canvas with the railroad track's dy-
namic diagonal. Unfortunately, the
duties of the family business drew
Baker away from artistic endeavors in
her later years.
Another Southeast Texas artist-
who worked consistently for five de-
cades and sold widely-was Maudee
Carron of Port Arthur. She studied
as a teenager in Houston with mentor
Ola McNeill Davidson and produced
abstract paintings in the 1930s, earlier
than most Texas artists. Her art gained
wider exposure with the help of major
American sculptor James Surls after
Volume 1 2011 I TEXASHERITAGE 17
I I I I
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2011, Volume 1, periodical, 2011; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254220/m1/17/: accessed May 27, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.