Two starkly different exhibitions are currently on display at the Meadows Art Museum in Dallas. One exhibition features a private collection of over 200 first edition prints and lithographs by Francisco Goya, and the other contains paintings and pencil drawings by native Texan and self-taught artist Horace Oakley Robertson.
Goya’s art has both classical and experimental elements, and includes traditional religious themes as well as contemporary political themes.
With 50,000 to 60,000 guests per year, the Meadows’ attendance is low compared to the Dallas Museum of Art’s (DMA), which has over half a million visitors annually. The Meadows Museum is unique among college art museums, but it is often overlooked. The Meadows Museum has cultural significance besides housing gifts to Southern Methodist University, unlike other university art collections that often consist of undirected gifts from alumni and donors. The museum’s permanent collection includes Algur Hurtle Meadows’ donation of his personal collection of a variety of Spanish pieces spanning the 11th century to the 21st century, as well as collections of sculpture and gifts. The Meadows participates in the multinational exchange of art and operates on the scale of museums such as the DMA and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. It also covers a broad expanse of history. “[The museum houses] the most comprehensive collection of Spanish art outside of Spain,” said Meadows Museum Curator of Education Scott Winterrowd.
Despite the breadth of art included, the Meadows Museum is smaller than the DMA. However, the size gives the Meadows a private and personal feeling that reflects the art pieces’ history as the intimate selections of an individual, with every piece having a specific reason for being included in the collection. The size also allows one to see many different styles of art through different times in just one trip. This speaks to the aim of the Meadows, which is to instill an appreciation in visitors of the skill and beauty of Spanish art throughout history. The museum contains religious and secular art, as well as art in the classical tradition and the modern style. Winterrowd says that the museum’s captivating collections are often overlooked.
“A lot of people don’t realize that we have works by Velazquez and Picasso and Goya, and that they’re some of the most important works by these artists,” Winterrowd said. “I don’t think people really know that until they visit.”
“[Goya is the] bridge between the old masters and modern painting,” said Carrie Hunnicutt, Marketing & PR manager of the Meadows Museum. Hunnicutt referred to H.O. Robertson’s work as embodying the self-made man, and the artist as a “homegrown talent — self-taught.” Although a celebrated Texan, Robertson’s work is not often found in museums.
“There is only one work [by Robertson] at the Dallas Museum of Art, and I don’t think there are any other works in public collections” Winterrowd said.
The Meadows is home to many permanent or on-loan private collections that could not be seen at any other museum. Hunnicutt says of the Goya exhibit prints, “I don’t think we’ve found yet a documented example when someone has exhibited all four, first edition.”
Beginning March 22, the Meadows will host art by John Alexander, a former employee at the Meadows Museum, whose art was influenced by the themes and style of Goya’s work. An art collection owned by Juan Abelló and his wife Ana Gamazo, which until the past year was closed to public audiences, will be on display at the museum from April 18 to Aug. 2. The collection includes Renaissance, Spanish, and European masters.
The Goya exhibition will be on display until March 8, and the Robertson exhibition continues through March 31. For information on the museum, visit www.meadowsmuseumdallas.org.