Heritage, 2011, Volume 1 Page: 45
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large private collections were centered mainly in the San
Antonio area. Since 1986, however, comprehensive col-
lections containing hundreds of artworks have formed
in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and College Station.
One of the first was the Torch Collection (see page
36), assembled in Houston by Torch Energy Advisors'
founder J. P. Bryan. Collections formed by Bobbie and
John Nau, of Houston, and Susan and Claude Albrit-
ton, of Dallas, represent two of today's most focused
gatherings of early Texas art.
Smaller collections have been built by scores of Texans
who enjoy the thrill of the hunt and the satisfaction of
rescuing Texas history. Collector groups now oper-
ate in every large Texas city. The first such group,
TACO (Texas Art Collectors Organization), was
founded in Dallas in 1996. Through fundrais-
ing and exhibitions, these private groups do more
than share tips and accumulate paintings. Out
of their exhibits have come published catalogues and
brochures that will transmit valuable information long
after the art shows themselves are forgotten.
Texas art collectors received a pair of powerful new tools
when two detailed dictionaries of artists working in the
state before 1950 were published within a year of each oth-
er. The Dictionary of Texas Artists, 1800-1945 by Paula and
Michael Grauer and Texas Painters, Sculptors & Graphic
Artists: A Biographical Dictionary of Artists in Texas before
1942 by John and Deborah Powers are now standard ref-
erence volumes on every collector's bookshelf. Adding to
earlier publications such as Painting In Texas: The Nine-
teenth Century, a landmark 1967 book by art historian
Pauline Pinckney, these new dictionaries, along with
every exhibition and each new collection that forms,
help complete the vast and sometimes confusing puz-
zle of what early Texas art is, where it comes from, and
where it needs to go. *
Art historian and curatorial advisor Scott Grant Barker, of
Fort Worth, is a member of the Center for the Advancement
and Study of Early Texas Art.
Volume 1 2011 I TEXASHERITAGE 45
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2011, Volume 1, periodical, 2011; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254220/m1/45/: accessed November 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.