It is absurd how much I love this country.
Artistic affection for the highly hued beauty of this wild landscape of canyons and big skies began with the Comanches and their haunting rock art, followed by Anglo artists, including Georgia O'Keeffe, Frank Reaugh, L.O. Griffith, and Josephine Oliver, who came early into this Texas frontier territory.
Reaugh followed the cowboys and their Longhorns up the Brazos, first in 1883 and again with Griffith in 1901. O'Keeffe came to the Palo Duro canyon area at the Red River headwaters first in 1913 as a young teacher in Amarillo, beginning her long, prolific artistic romance with the American Southwest
Focusing on shapes, textures, colors and light, O'Keeffe painted the Texas plains and canyons of Palo Duro and wrote about these Texas Canyonlands: “It is absurd how much I love this country.”
From 1912 to 1914, Georgia O'Keeffe was supervisor of art in the public school system of Amarillo, Texas. In 1914, she left Amarillo and moved to New York. But in in the fall of 1916, O'Keeffe returned to Texas to teach at West Texas State Normal College (now West Texas A&M University) in Canyon.
O'Keeffe's paintings can be found in major museums throughout the country, with the largest collection in the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Following are links to a few examples of her paintings that she created during her residence in Texas.
Major collections of the paintings of Frank Reaugh reside at the University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center and the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas.
On the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center website, you will find more information about the life and art of Frank Reaugh, the “Dean of Texas Artists,” as well as samples of his art from this period.
© Jim Watson