One of the most popular visitor features of our current exhibition Frank Reaugh: Landscapes of Texas and the American West is the “guide by cell” audio tour for visitors. This audio tour lets visitors call in and hear informational snippets about the paintings on display. Ransom Center Curator of Art Peter Mears discusses highlights from the exhibition, and Project Specialist Greg Curtis speaks as the voice of Frank Reaugh to narrate the artist’s own comments.
This week, Peter Mears discusses some of Frank Reaugh’s favorite locales for creating art.. Acting much like a tour guide, Reaugh led his audience through several Southwestern scenes, achieving a sense of intimacy even as he depicted grand sweeping spaces. Reaugh continually managed to find the best sites to capture key artistic foci, whether they be play of light or a slowly dwindling moon. Maintaining harmony between terrain and color, the artist presents the Southwest in all its distinct imagery.
In this painting, we see the mighty Rio Grande nestled at the base of an impressive mountain range. Showcasing a sprawling landscape in a compact scene, Reaugh captures river, mountain, shepherd, and sheep all in one neat frame. Viewers looking at the original closeup would notice that the paper board Reaugh painted on reveals an extra layer of character to the overall presentation: The colors of the pastel scene smooth out at the margins to reveal the color of the board underneath, and the small holes in each corner point to the places on the board which were pinned down to the lap easel while Reaugh painted. The matted down lines around the painting reveal preparation for a future frame. All of these small details and elements provide greater insight into the artist’s work.