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 Frank Reaugh  (1860 - 1945)

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Lived/Active: Texas/Illinois      Known for: landscape with longhorn cattle

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Frank Reaugh
from Auction House Records.
Breezy Morning
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Often referred to as the Dean of Texas artists, Frank Reaugh is the major figure of the Old Guard in Texas art. As a painter and teacher, he played a key role in developing the Dallas and Fort Worth art scene, and in 1897, organized the Dallas School of the Fine Arts, and later was active in establishing the Dallas Art Association.

According to Michael Grauer, art historian of Texas Art, Reaugh with his many classes, "may have had a greater impact on the future of Texas art than any other artist or teacher prior to World War II. ...the roster of these classes read like a 'Who's Who' of Texas Art" From 1905 until the early 1940s, he took students on sketching trips to West Texas, and among these students were Alexander Hogue, Lucretia Donnell, Jim Cheek, Josephine Oliver, Eleanor Adams, Edward Eisenlohr, Charles Bock, Louis Griffith, and Reveau Bassett.

Reaugh was born near Jacksonville, Illinois, and came to Texas via wagon in 1876 at the age of fifteen. He lived with his parents on a farm near Terrell, and in 1889, the family moved to Oak Cliff near Dallas. From his father, he acquired mechanical sense that he later used in making his own frames. He had little formal education, although his mother led him to the fine arts.

He first took an interest in art in the 1870s when he saw reproductions in magazines, which he began copying. He also joined cattlemen on cattle drives throughout the 1880s, and from his extensive travels developed his interest in the landscape as well as the life of the cowboy. In 1883, he first went to West Texas and made numerous sketches, from which he later did studio paintings.

His first formal training was at the Saint Louis School of Fine Arts in Missouri during the winter of 1884-1885. The director, Halsey Ives, lectured on trends in Europe, especially Impressionism, and became a major influence on Reaugh, who then returned to his hometown of Terrell and taught art.

In 1888, he went to Europe, first to Paris where he enrolled in the Academie Julian and studied with Jules Lefebvre, John-Joseph Constant, and Henri Douciet. A year later, he traveled in Belgium and the Netherlands and returned to Texas in May, 1889.

He developed a prestigious exhibition record and earned special respect because of his European training. He also began using a camera from which he painted scenes, and patented several devices including a folding lap easel, a water pump, and a cooling mechanism for internal combustion engines, which he utilized on his sketching trips.

In 1929, he opened a studio in Dallas at Fifth and Crawford Streets, and this became a center of creative activity with Reaugh hosting classes in pastel and oil taught by some of his students, especially Josephine Oliver, Reveau Bassett, and Lucretia Donnell.

Towards the end of his life Reveau and Virginia Bassett moved in with Reaugh and took care of him during his final illness. He died in 1945, largely ignored by many persons except for some of his devoted students. He was buried in Terrell.

Source:
Michael Grauer, "Frank Reaugh and His Students," American Art Review, October 2001.

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, V:
Frank Reaugh was the son of George Washington and Clarinda Spilman Reaugh, born on December 6, 1860 near Jacksonville, Illinois. In 1876 his family moved to a small ranch near Terrell, Texas.

Inspired by his mother and the landscape where he grew up with its natural environs, young Reaugh began drawing wildlife and scenic views. Ranch scenes with cattle grazing and longhorns seem to draw his attention the most.

He received his training from the School of Fine Arts in St. Louis during 1884-1885 but he also did some studies in Paris, France in 1888. By 1889 he was back in Texas teaching and painting mostly in pastel and oils, images, which gave him the honor and praise his works have delivered to the public. Some of his works are stored at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas and the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library in Lubbock, Texas.

Frank Reaugh, who never married, died in Dallas on May 6, 1945 at the age of 84 years.

Ref: Frank Reaugh Collection, 1902-1960, Southwest Collection/ Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas


Biography from Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum:
THE FRANK REAUGH GALLERY AT THE PANHANDLE-PLAINS HISTORICAL MUSEUM
    by Michael R. Grauer, Curator of Art, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
    
Called the pejorative "Rembrandt of the Longhorn" and "Longhorn Leonardo," and the gentler "Painter to the Longhorns,"  Charles Franklin "Frank" Reaugh was a master pastellist unparalleled in Texas and the greater Southwest.  While he advertised himself as a "landscape and cattle painter" and insisted he was the historian of the Texas longhorn, he has effectively, and unfortunately, pigeonholed his art.  

More appropriately, Frank Reaugh is often called the "Dean of Texas Painters."  His name is synonymous with the "old guard" of Texas art history, along with Robert Onderdonk, Hermann Lungkwitz, William Henry Huddle, Henry McArdle, and others. 

Reaugh's paintings focused on the landscape of the American West generally, and the American Southwest, specifically.  He captured subtleties in a land of high contrast where others only saw the rawness.  He painted the overwhelmingly blue sky, the illimitable plains, and the great gashes in the land that are called canyons, arroyos, or breaks in the West.  And he painted the Texas longhorn, or Texas cattle, as he referred to them. 

Usually no more important than the mesquite, yucca, sagebrush, and cholla that also populate his compositions of the Western landscape, the Texas longhorn became his recognized symbol.  Today, some commercial galleries even insist that one of his works is more valuable if it has a cow in it!  These commercial zealots in their search for a longhorn often overlook the beauty of his landscapes; they cannot see the landscape for the longhorns.

Born near Jacksonville, Illinois in 1860, Reaugh first came to Texas in a wagon in 1876 at the age of fifteen.  He moved with his parents to a farm near Terrell, Texas, until 1890 when they moved to Dallas and settled in what is now the Oak Cliff area.

Reaugh had no formal education but fared well without it for his mother, Clarinda Reaugh, was his teacher in all things.  The daughter of a Presbyterian minister, his mother instilled in her only child an appreciation of nature, grounded in her own readings in zoology, botany, and natural history.  Her teachings were infused with the philosophies of the famed Swiss zoologist Louis Agassiz and John Burroughs, supporter and contemporary of Walt Whitman, who wrote extensively on his symbiotic relationship with nature.  Clarinda Reaugh also encouraged her son's interest in drawing through her own interest in the fine arts.

Reaugh's father, George Washington Reaugh, was a mechanic, carpenter, cabinetmaker, and farmer, who had participated in the Gold Rush of 1849.  It was from his father that Reaugh learned to be extremely adept with his hands, and later made his own picture frames and patented several inventions.  George Reaugh's sense of adventure may have spurred his son's annual trips to West Texas and beyond, which began in the early 1880s.

Reaugh's first exposure to art came through reproductions in popular magazines such as Harper’s, Scribner’s, and Century Illustrated.  Rosa Bonheur's Horsefair, the Dutch painter Paulus Potter's Young Bull, and the landscapes of Frederic Edwin Church and J. M. W. Turner were favorites of his.  (In fact, his late works are often especially reminiscent of Church and Turner.)  From these early reproductions in black and white, Reaugh learned well the lessons of value and composition.

While he studied and copied magazine reproductions, Reaugh also became interested in bovine anatomy.  Using a "two-bit" book on cattle and sheep anatomy as his text, the young artist collected bones near the Reaugh farm and made measurements from family livestock.  He supplemented his scientific studies with sketches made from longhorn cattle brought up from South Texas to fatten on grass nearby.

In the early 1880s, Reaugh met two cattlemen, Frank and Romeo Houston, who had interests throughout North Texas, and accompanied them on cattle drives and roundups near present-day Wichita Falls and in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).  His first documented trip to Western Texas came in 1883; probably near present day Wichita Falls and Henrietta, Texas.

Reaugh made numerous sketches during these trips, often from the saddle, and later enlarged and composed them in the studio.  His field sketches  resulted in his first two pastel masterpieces, Watering the Herd (1889) and The One-O Roundup (1894). and his oil The Approaching Herd (1902).   These trips with the Houstons, begun as early as 1883, spurred a wanderlust for West Texas that lured Reaugh until he was nearly eighty.

Reaugh took his first formal art training at the Saint Louis Museum and School of Fine Arts during the winter of 1884-85.  He spent most of his time there drawing from plaster casts of Greek, Roman, and Italian sculpture and possibly live models.  Reaugh also met Halsey C. Ives, director of the school, who lectured on avant-garde art trends in Europe, particularly French Impressionism.  Later, Ives was instrumental in the acceptance of Reaugh's work for display at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, held in Saint Louis in 1904.

Following his studies at Saint Louis, Reaugh returned to Terrell and began teaching art to young ladies in the area.  He supplemented his art classes with a stint at teaching public school, and by November 1888 had saved enough money for a trip to Europe.  

Upon arriving at Paris, Reaugh enrolled at the Academie Julian, a school very popular with international students, especially Americans.  He drew and painted from the figure while at the Academie under Jules Lefebvre, John-Joseph Benjamin Constant, and Henri-Lucien Douciet, all members of the "juste milieu" in France.  Reaugh studied at the Academie for half of each day then supplemented his formal instruction by making copies of or studying paintings in the Louvre and the Luxembourg Palace. 

Logically he was especially drawn to the pastels in what he later called the 'pastel room' in the Louvre.  In his 1927 pamphlet, Pastel, Reaugh wrote of the pastel painters he saw in the gallery: "[John] Russell, of England, and [Maurice-Quentin de] La Tour,   [Jean Etienne] Liotard, [Jean Simeon] Chardin, and [Madame Vigee] Le [sic] Brun. These were great painters. . .the work of all of them may be seen in the pastel room of the Louvre, as fresh and bright, apparently, as on the day it was done."  In addition to the pastellists he mentioned, Reaugh also saw pastels in the Louvre by Rosalba Carriera, Francois Boucher, and Pierre Paul Prudhon. 

At the end of March 1889, Reaugh traveled through Belgium and Holland, studying paintings of the Flemish and Dutch schools, and particularly those of The Hague School, of which Anton Mauve was a part.  He returned to Paris in time to see the Exposition Universelle, at which paintings by French Impressionists Cezanne, Manet, Monet, and Pissarro were exhibited.  This may have been Reaugh's initial exposure to Impressionism.  Reaugh returned to Texas at the end of May 1889.

Between 1890 and 1915, Frank Reaugh enjoyed his greatest success as an artist.  He exhibited works at two world's fairs: the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893 and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904.  He also exhibited at the prestigious National Academy of Design at New York, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts at Philadelphia, and the Art Institute of Chicago.  Moreover, Reaugh became a member of the Society of Western Artists and exhibited with that group all over the United States.  Finally, Reaugh toured his pastels with much success, especially in the upper Midwest.

Simultaneously, Reaugh continued his trips to the West and, beginning in the 1890s, he started using a camera as a sketching tool.  He photographed the landscape as well as cattle, and in 1893 photographed in Palo Duro Canyon; perhaps his first trip to the 'Grand Canyon of Texas'.

After 1900, Reaugh turned his genius to inventing and patented several devices including a folding lap easel, a water pump, and a cooling mechanism for internal combustion engines, among other things.  He also patented Reaugh Pastels, using a formula he developed and shaped into an octagonal-shape stick for easier gripping.   Allegedly, either John Singer Sargent or William Merritt Chase used Reaugh Pastels.

Reaugh also became more active in Dallas art and civic circles.  After first offering private art lessons, he organized the Dallas School of Fine Arts in 1899.  He urged Dallas to build the city's first art gallery in 1900, to which he donated a painting, and helped found the Dallas Art Association in 1903.  Furthermore, Reaugh arranged the loan of paintings from then-contemporary American artists in the East and Midwest for the State Fair of Texas.  An vocational naturalist, Reaugh also organized a popular nature study club in Dallas, members of which were young ladies who grew to be influential Dallas civic leaders.   Nevertheless, despite his ground-level work to bring art to Dallas, as the Dallas Art Association grew Reaugh was pushed aside by socialites and his contributions forgotten. 

Around 1910 and possibly earlier, he began taking students with him on his trips West. Among them were Texas artists Edward G. Eisenlohr, Florence McClung, Lloyd Goff, Olin Travis, Alexandre Hogue, Harry Carnohan, and Reveau Bassett, all who worked in pastel and oil. 

Reaugh's trips were always to West Texas and points beyond.  Tule Canyon, Blanco Canyon, Double Mountain, and Palo Duro Canyon, all in West Texas, were on his various itineraries.  Students were only allowed 30 pounds of equipment, including sketching materials.  They drove in a modified Model-T dubbed 'Cicada'.   In 1920, for example, Reaugh and his students journeyed to the Grand Canyon via El Paso and Tucson and returned to Dallas through Albuquerque and Amarillo.  Reaugh continued making trips to West Texas until he was almost eighty. 

In the late 1930s, Reaugh painted a series of seven large (24 by 48 inches)  pastels called Twenty Four Hours with the Herd, documenting  the trail driving industry.  Dallas artist and Reaugh protégée Josephine Oliver aided in painting the series as Reaugh's eyesight began to fail. 

The final insult to Reaugh came by way of the 'young Turks' of Dallas, many who had been Reaugh students.  They excluded his work from the art exhibitions in the new Dallas Museum of Fine Arts at the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936.  Much beloved by most former students, Reaugh was hospitalized as an indigent in Dallas, forgotten and ignored by his adopted city, before dying in 1945.  

While Texas cattle were an important theme for many of Frank Reaugh's early paintings, they were by no means the only subjects for his brush.  The paintings of roundups and trail drives notwithstanding, Reaugh's interest focused on the landscape of the Southwest of which the longhorn was, as Reaugh saw it, an integral part, and therefore as important, as mesquite, sagebrush, and prickly pear.  Only in the specific cattle paintings--which are equal in number to the landscapes--do the bovines dominate the scenes.  Probably in response to an audience that began to demand cattle in its Reaugh paintings, the artist almost certainly added cattle in the studio to landscapes sketched out-of-doors.  And it was in the field that Reaugh's genius emerged.  He felt pastel was the ideal medium for rendering the semi-arid regions of most of the West.

The innumerable small pastels scattered all over the state of Texas are the jewels of Frank Reaugh's career.  The majority of these works are at the Panhandle-Plains Museum, the University of Texas (230), and at Texas Tech University (217).  In each of these small masterpieces, Reaugh's special relationship with the West is mingled with each stroke of the pastel.  And this mixing of a part of himself with his medium gives each work a sparkle and a life rarely found in paintings of any size.  The integration of his artistic spirit with the pictorial image was a result of the spiritual communion between Frank Reaugh and the landscape of West Texas and the Southwest.

The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum maintains a permanent Frank Reaugh Gallery, the only permanent exhibition of his work, anywhere.  The Museum was the recipient of the Frank Reaugh estate and many of his personal papers and belongings are also part of the Museum's collection.  Coupled with the new Texas Gallery and the Bugbee Studio, the Reaugh Gallery offers unique insight into Texas art history to visitors to the Museum.  


         
        

    
    
   
 


Biography from Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum:
Called the "Dean of Texas Painters," Frank Reaugh was born near Jacksonville, Illinois in 1860. In 1876 he and his family settled on a farm near Terrell, Texas, moving to Oak Cliff near Dallas in 1890. His mother taught him natural history and his taught him to work with his hands. Later, Frank Reaugh made his own picture frames and patented several inventions.
He copied reproductions from popular magazines and taught himself cattle and sheep anatomy. Reaugh also sketched longhorn cattle brought up from South Texas to fatten on the prairies nearby.

As early as 1883, Reaugh began sketching--often from the saddle--cattle drives and roundups in West Texas, near Wichita Falls. He later enlarged and composed his sketches in his studio, resulting in such paintings as The One-O Roundup, Watering the Herd, and his masterpiece, The Approaching Herd. In the late 1930s, Reaugh also used his sketches and experience with the trail driving industry to create the multi-media performance, Twenty-Four Hours with the Herd, based on his series of seven paintings by the same title accompanied by music and a script.

Reaugh studied at the Saint Louis School of Fine Arts and at the Academie Julian in Paris. While in Europe he copied paintings in the Louvre and studied paintings in Belgium and Holland.
Among other places, Reaugh exhibited at the World's Columbian Exposition, the National Academy of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, and at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. He also joined the Society of Western Artists, exhibiting with them all over the United States.

Reaugh continued his annual sketching trips to the Texas Plains until he was almost eighty. He had been taking students on trips since 1910, among whom were Alexandre Hogue and Florence McClung. Reaugh died in Dallas in 1945.

The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum at Canyon, Texas, rotates over 800 Reaugh works and is the repository for Reaugh materiel. Other institutions with Reaugh works include the Gilcrease Museum; the University of Texas; the Dallas Museum of Art; Dallas Historical Society; Dallas Public Library; and the J. Evetts Haley History Center, Midland, Texas.

Michael R. Grauer
Curator of Art
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
Canyon, Texas

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.


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