Artists & Designers

Jerry Bywaters (1906-1989)

The following biography appeared in the 1985 catalog __Lone Star Regionalism: The Dallas Nine and Their Circle by Rick Stewart.

One of the most important figures in the history of Texas art, Jerry Bywaters was born in Paris, Texas, on May 21,1906. During his last year at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, he decided to study art. For a brief period, he attended the Dallas Art Institute before going with the painter Robert Vonnoh to the Old Lyme Art Colony in Connecticut to study with Bruce Crane. He studied at the New York Art Students League with Ivan Olinsky and John Sloan before returning to Texas. In Texas he became a champion of regional art and an accomplished artist in his own right. By 1933 he had won a major purchase prize at the Dallas Museum with his portrait of David Williams, had been one of the founding members of the Dallas Artists League, edited a new magazine titled Southwestern Arts, and had begun writing art criticism for the Dallas Morning __News. He was a founding member of the Dallas Nine, a circle of artists most active in the 1930s and 40s. Their artistic motivation grew from the landscape, industry, and inhabitants of Texas and the greater Southwest region. Bywaters was a great believer of the Texas Regionalist movement and founding member of the Lonestar Printmakers. He also completed five murals under the Works Progress Administration throughout the state. In 1936 he exhibited at the Centennial, and the following year he began a notable teaching career at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He also illustrated books by J. Frank Dobie and others. His works received numerous awards. In 1942 he was named director of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts and served as such until his retirement.

Adapted from

Rick Stewart, _Lone Star Regionalism: The Dallas Nine and Their Circle (_Dallas Museum of Arts: Dallas, TX, 1985), 160.

Web Resources

  • Bywaters, Jerry, Texas State Historical Association Biography
    Read more about Jerry Bywaters on the Handbook of Texas Online (published by the Texas State Historical Association).

  • Dallas Nine
    Read more about this group on the Handbook of Texas Online (published by the Texas State Historical Association).

  • Southern Methodist University's Digital Collection
    View a large collection of Bywaters' works digitally in a local university collection (organized by Southern Methodist University's Central University Libraries Digital Collections).

  • Bywaters Special Collections
    Learn more about the Bywaters Special Collections (housed at Hamon Arts Library at Southern Methodist University, organized by Southern Methodist University's Central University Libraries Digital Collections).