In this very large exhibition, 57 works of early Texas art, there are two paintings that should be seen, for historical reasons. One is On Texas Waters: USS Constitution; this wooden-hulled, three-masted frigate won many victories in the War of 1812, and became much-loved, nick-named "Old Ironsides" by Oliver Wendell Holmes. It went on a three-year tour from 1931 to 1934, and was painted by Paul R. Schumann in 1932 as it appeared in full sail in Galveston Bay. It anchors the exhibition with a specific moment in local history.
Photo courtesy of William Reaves Fine Art Robert Wood is justifiably famous for his bluebonnet paintings, and strong composition
The second is a 1936 portrait, 40 inches by 28 inches, by Emma Richardson Cherry of her son-in-law, titled Major Reid. It shows him to be handsome, in uniform, and its warm tan tones here posit the glamor of war, ignoring for a moment the agony in the trenches. The painting resonates with love, almost palpable, alive after all these years.