DMA Announces the Barrett Collection of Early Texas Art, a Gift of 62 Artworks from Dallasites Nona and Richard Barrett

Dallas, TX, May 8, 2007The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) today announced that Nona and Richard Barrett of Dallas have given more than 60 works from their outstanding private collection of early Texas art to the DMA’s permanent collection. The Barrett’s gift to the Museum will be known as The Barrett Collection and it represents work from the 1870s to 1988, with the majority of works dating from the 1930s–50s, one of the richest periods in Texas art. This group of 62 paintings and works on paper will be on display in an exhibition titled Lone Star Legacy: The Barrett Collection of Early Texas Art, opening May 27, 2007 in the Lamont Gallery and remaining on view through the fall.

“With the generosity of Dallasites Nona and Richard Barrett, the Museum’s already important collection has been transformed into one of the finest assemblages of early Texas art in any museum,” said John R. Lane, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. “The Barretts’ great civic commitment and cultural generosity not only benefit the DMA but bring Texas regionalism to higher national prominence.”

The Barrett Collection encompasses late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century works by landscape painters Hermann Lungkwitz, José Arpa y Perea, and Dawson Dawson-Watson—artists for whom museum-quality work is virtually non-existent on the current market. Additionally, exquisite paintings by Frank Reaugh, Edward G. Eisenlohr, and Julian Onderdonk will enrich the Museum’s current holdings of these well-regarded artists.

At the same time, the Barrett gift provides for important expansion into the later careers of several of the Dallas Nine, particularly Everett Spruce and William Lester, to now offer broad retrospective coverage of the artists who helped put Texas regionalism on the art historical map.

In one of its most important moves, the Barrett compilation bridges the gap between early Texas art and contemporary art with the gift of two works by Forrest Bess, one of the most important and enigmatic abstract artists working in the state after the Second World War.


“Starting in the late 1980s, the Barretts began to build what would become a pioneering collection of contemporary Texas art, then largely under-appreciated,” said William Rudolph, The Pauline Gill Sullivan Associate Curator of American Art at the Dallas Museum of Art and curator of the forthcoming exhibition. “At the same time as they developed a sophisticated understanding of the art of their own moment, the Barretts also explored the state’s artistic foundations, well in advance of the current vogue for these works, and carefully selected particularly fine examples of leading artists for this celebrated collection.”

About the Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art, established in 1903, has an encyclopedic collection of more than 26,000 works spanning 5,000 years of history and representing all media with renowned strengths in the arts of the ancient Americas, Africa, Indonesia, and South Asia; European and American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; and American and international contemporary art.

The Dallas Museum of Art is the anchor of the Dallas Arts District and serves more than one-half million visitors a year, offering more than 3,500 education and public programs annually designed to engage people of all ages with the power and excitement of art.

The Dallas Museum of Art is supported in part by the generosity of Museum members and donors and by the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

The Museum is located just south of Woodall Rodgers Freeway with driveways on both Harwood and St. Paul providing access to the underground parking garage. The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day except Thursday, when the Museum stays open until 9 p.m. The Museum is closed Mondays, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.