The San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) recently unveiled a newly installed section of the museum that is now dedicated to Texas art. Located on the third floor of the institution’s East Tower, in a gallery space one floor above the museum’s installation of contemporary works from its collection, this new Texas art gallery features artworks that run the gamut of the state’s art history. Works by older, more widely-known artists such as Julian Onderdonk (of whom the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston recently organized a show) are, as SAMA says, “placed in the context of notable works from Texas abstract artists, artists influenced by surrealism, self-taught artists and craftsman, and significant pieces of decorative art.”
In this new gallery, as SAMA has done in the past with other spaces, furniture and other craft pieces have been incorporated into the installation. The museum received these examples of early Texas furniture in the 1990s from the Houston collector Faith P. Bybee. According to the museum, these pieces “have not been on view in decades.”
William Keyse Rudolph, SAMA’s chief curator and curator of American and European art, commented on why the museum felt the need to spotlight Texas art:
“Texas Art has been at the forefront of developments in artistic practice, and our holdings reveal the important contributions artists working in Texas have made to American art. San Antonio was one of the cradles of art in the state, and the San Antonio Museum of Art believes strongly in the presentation of Texas art.”
This new gallery space also features one of the museum’s recent acquisitions, a 1948 painting by Toni LaSelle. Mr. Rudolph noted in a statement that the museum is proud to highlight the women artists living and working in Texas, and that this new gallery features historic and modern works by Bonnie MacLeary, Emma Richardson Cherry, Clara MacDonald Williamson, and Florence McClung.
Future visitors to SAMA can expect to find these and other works in the museum’s third floor gallery. When Glasstire asked Mr. Rudolph if this installation was permanent, he responded: “It is a long-term installation and we do foresee gallery rotations when appropriate.”
Entry to SAMA’s new Texas art gallery is included in museum admission. The reinstallation is made possible by various donors, including the Kelso Family, who have established an endowment for Texas art at the museum.