EL PASO MUSEUM OF ART
1 Arts Festival Plaza • 915 532-1707 • elpasoartmuseum.org
Hours: Tues-Sat 9–5 p.m.; Thurs 9 a.m.-9 p.m.;
Sun 12 noon–5 p.m. • Closed Mondays & holidays
Tom Lea at War
by Dr. Bruce Cole, past chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities
Tom Lea’s World War II Sketchbook at the El Paso Museum of Art
Thursday, October 6, 2011 • 5:30-7 p.m. • Free
Dr. Bruce Cole discovered Tom Lea while serving as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 2001-2009. He recently visited an exhibition of World War II art at the American Constitution Center in Philadelphia and was struck by the power of Tom Lea’s eye-witness accounts. After Dr. Cole’s remarks, Dr. Michael Tomor will share drawings from Tom Lea’s 1942 Sketchbook, created while Lea was on the USS Hornet and U.S.S. Grouper in the Coral Sea, on view in the Tom Lea Gallery. Dr. Tomor will compare sketches to the final oil paintings Lea completed after returning home from war.
Fighter In The Sky
U. S. Army Center or Military History, Washington, D.C.
Tom Lea: A Man Alone in the Space of the Land
by Katherine Alexander, painter
Thursday October 13, 2011 • 5:30-7 p.m. • Free
West Texas continues to draw artists, one of them painter Katherine Alexander of New York City. Like Georgia O’Keefe, whose move to Texas inspired her to paint again, Alexander has found an inexhaustible supply of subject matter in the southwestern landscape and sky. While in Texas, Alexander became an admirer of the paintings of Tom Lea and his profound understanding of his homeland’s intense sunlight, huge space and naked form. She will speak about Tom Lea’s paintings from a painter’s point of view.
Saving Sarah: The Restoration of Tom Lea’s drawing for Sarah in the Summertime and the Preservation of his Legacy at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin
by Peter Mears
Thursday October 20, 2011 • 5:30-7 p.m. Free
The portrait Sarah in the Summertime, completed by Tom Lea following World War II, is arguably one of the most beautiful portraits ever done. Yet by the 1990s the detailed drawing for it was brittle and rolled, dangerously close to being lost when the Harry Ransom Center prioritized it for rescue. Curator Peter Mears will share the science and engineering required to save this extraordinary work of art.
Sarah in the Summertime, 1947
Pencil, chalk on brown paper, 69" x 28"
Collection of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, UT Austin
Whispering Like a Mountain: The Life Conversation of Tom Lea and J. Frank Dobie
By Brandon Shuler
Introduced by Dr. James Lea
Thursday, October 27, 2011 • 5:30-7 p.m. • Free
Tom Lea and J. Frank Dobie were close friends and giants of Texas literature and art. They enjoyed a lifetime of correspondence, resulting in hundreds of letters. Brandon Shuler, a Ph.D. candidate in literature and history at Texas Tech University, will share insights into the relationship of these two men and illuminate the reasons behind the temporary break in their friendship. Shuler will be introduced by Tom Lea’s son, Jim, who has made his father’s letters available for the first time.
Tom Lea: The Turning Point, 1966
On view Tom Lea Gallery
September 4, 2011 – January 8, 2012
Gallery Talk by Adair Margo and Billy Stevens
Sunday, October 30, 2011 • 2 p.m.
In 1965, the University of Texas at El Paso (Texas Western College) football team had won four games and lost three, placing it at a pivotal point in its season. The team trailed 13-19 when it took over the ball on its own eight-yard line with 16 seconds to go. The Miners set up a play that scored them seven points after the clock had run out, giving them a 20-19 victory. The team won the rest of their games that season and edged a powerful Texas Christian University team 13-12 in the December 31 Sun Bowl. Tom Lea was commissioned to commemorate the historic game and researched it thoroughly, having the players rerun the play in uniform and interviewing each one. The exhibition will include drawings and the final 31 x 42 inch oil painting on loan from the University of Texas at El Paso Larry Durham Center.
Sketchbook from USS Hornet and USS Grouper in the Coral Sea, 1942
On view Tom Lea Gallery
October 1–30, 2011
Tom Lea was aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hornet in the Coral Sea for two months during the summer of 1942, just after the Battle of Midway. He witnessed the torpedoing of the USS Wasp from its deck, recording what he saw with pen, ink and pencil. This rare sketchbook contains drawings done on board the Hornet and the submarine USS Grouper. When Lea could not bring himself to sell the sketchbook to a collector in 1997, saying it was like “selling my soul,” a group of friends pitched in to buy it for the El Paso Museum of Art.
The Left Handed Buffalo Hunter, 1937
Tom Lea Gallery, New Acquisitions Wall
Gift of Billie Ruth Ritter Simpson, Mesilla, New Mexico
October 1–30, 2011
Tom Lea competed in 1937 to paint the murals at the San Antonio Post Office, creating five designs. Lea took one detail and made a painting to the scale it would be on the post office wall. (Tom Lea was left handed, which indicates he placed himself in the role of the Buffalo Hunter.) After Lea lost the competition, he gave the painting to his brother and sister-in-law, Joe and Marjorie Lea, who lived in Mesilla, New Mexico. Their neighbors, Billie Ruth and John Barnes Ritter, kept the painting while Joe served overseas in World War II. The Ritters grew so attached to the painting that after the war they offered to buy it. The painting remained in the Ritter home until Billie Ruth’s death in 2010.
The Left-Handed Buffalo Hunter, 1937
Oil on canvas, 41" x 41"
El Paso Museum of Art, Bequest of Billie Ruth Ritter Simpson
Sketch in the Gallery
Saturday, October 8, 22 & 29 • 1-3 p.m.
Experience the act of sketching in the Tom Lea Gallery with a professional artist as your guide. Let the many different styles of Lea’s work inspire you to draw your own masterwork. Registered students will receive one complimentary sketchpad and pencil set, while supplies last, courtesy of the El Paso Museum of Art Tom Lea Endowment Fund.