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 Merritt Mauzey  (1898 - 1973)

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Lived/Active: Texas      Known for: lithographer, illustrator, genre

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Ad Code: 3
Merritt Mauzey
from Auction House Records.
Grandpa Snazzy, 1930s
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following biography is based on information provided to AskART.com by Jeffrey Pirtle, Museum/Archives Manager of J.C. Penney of Dallas, Texas who, in turn, credits the web site, "Handbook of Texas Online:"

Noted Texas artist Merritt Thomas Mauzey was a lithographer and author- illustrator of children's books. He was born at Clifton, Bosque County, Texas, on November 16, 1898, the son of Henry Clay and Amanda Elizabeth (Crowe) Mauzey.

In 1900 his family moved by covered wagon to Oak Creek Valley to begin dry-land cotton farming on rented land. They purchased 160 acres of railroad land east of Decker in 1902. In 1912, Mauzey went to live with a married sister in Blackwell in order to attend high school. He first studied drawing through a correspondence course offered by the Fine Art Institute in Omaha, Nebraska.

On July 8, 1916, he married Margaret Echols, and their only child, Merritt, Jr., was born in 1919. Mauzey farmed cotton on shares until 1920, when he moved to Sweetwater, where he supported his family with various jobs for the next seven years. In 1927 he moved his household to Dallas. There, in 1933, he studied etching with Frank E. Klepper in a night class taught at Bryan High School. He also studied with John F. Knott, cartoonist for the "Dallas Morning News."

Two of Mauzey's oils, "Cotton Gin" and "Cotton Compress," were exhibited at the Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas (1936). He taught himself the art of printmaking, and in May, 1938, he became a charter member of the Lone Star Printmakers. Here he found his ultimate medium, the lithographic stone.

The dry-land cotton culture of West Texas, the site of his formative
years, is embodied in his best work, particularly his print series "The
Last Frontier of the Cotton Farmer." From 1943 until 1962 Mauzey worked
for the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and produced art in his spare
time. In 1946 he received the first Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in
fine arts ever awarded to a Texan.

His work received prizes at a national show at the Library of Congress, at the 1939 Allied Arts Exhibit, and at the 1941 Texas Fine Arts Show. He won the K. F. J.
Knoblock award given by the Society of American Graphic Artists in 1948.
He held numerous solo exhibitions, and his work has been in numerous
overseas tours.

Mauzey also wrote and illustrated several children's books. He was featured in Carl Zigrosser's "The Artist in America: Twenty-four Close-ups of Contemporary Printmakers (1942)," and his papers are collected at the University of Southern Mississippi, which published the Catalogue of the Merritt Mauzey Collection in 1971.

His autobiographical memoir, "An Artist's Notebook: The Life and Art of
Merritt Mauzey," with more than sixty illustrations, appeared
posthumously in 1979. Mauzey describe himself as a "progressive
Democrat" and was a life-long Methodist. He was a member of several
organizations, including Audubon Artists, Incorporated, and American
Graphic Artists. Predeceased by his wife of fifty-two years, Mauzey died
in Dallas, Texas, on November 14, 1973.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Jerry Bywaters Collection on the Art of the Southwest,
Southern Methodist University. Merritt Mauzey, An Artist's Notebook: The
Life and Art of Merritt Mauzey (Memphis: Memphis State University Press,
1979). Ruth Morgan, "Sermons on Stone," Southwest Review 32 (Spring
1947). Rick Stewart, Lone Star Regionalism (Austin: Texas Monthly Press,
1985). Gordon Weaver





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