Heritage, 2011, Volume 1 Page: 43
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Eleanor Onderdonk, sister of Texas'
most famous landscape painter Julian
Onderdonk, became the museum's
art curator. Recognizing artwork as a
record of Texas life during the earliest
days of statehood, Eleanor Onderdonk
sought out works by Theodore Gentilz,
Richard Petri, Hermann Lungkwitz,
and other prominent 19th-century
Texas painters to form the foundation
of the Witte art collection. The Witte
has dipped into its Texas collection
many times during the years to orga-
nize revealing exhibits, and the muse-
um's 1993 publication Art for History's
Sake by Cecilia Steinfeldt provides an
accessible illustrated document of the
Perhaps the state's most comprehen-
sive collection of historic Texas art is
found at the Panhandle-Plains Histori-
cal Museum (PPHM) in Canyon (see
article on page 25). Here, paintings by a
who's-who of notable early Texas artists
are rotated for exhibition in the mu-
seum's Texas Gallery. The PPHM also
continuously displays selections from
its large Frank Reaugh collection. For
50 years, Frank Reaugh (1860-1945)
used his Oak Cliff studio as a launch-
ing pad for the most important artistic
explorations of West Texas ever done.
Reaugh, usually accompanied by stu-
dents eager to learn his methods, pro-
digiously recorded the western expanse
on annual treks by Model T through
the state's remotest regions. Many of
those paintings are now housed at the
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum.
Through the efforts of former Dallas
Museum of Art (DMA) director Jerry
Bywaters (1906-1989), a significant
collection of mid-20th century art pro-
duced in Dallas and the surrounding
area is owned and routinely shown by
the DMA. Bywaters, a noted artist in
his own right, was a force behind the
American regionalist movement among
painters in Depression-era Dallas. In the
1930s Bywaters, Alexandre Hogue,
Otis Dozier, Thomas Stell, and others
adopted the fragile beauty of the land
and plight of the Texas farmer as vi-
sual discussion points on the American
experience. Bywaters' closeness to the
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2011, Volume 1, periodical, 2011; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254220/m1/43/: accessed December 11, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.