DMA Insight

Meadows Foundation—Gift of European and Contemporary Works

The following essay from January 1982 announced both a tremendous donation to the Dallas Museum of Art (then the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts) and the subsequent exhibition of these works.

The Board of Directors of the Meadows Foundation announced to the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts Board of Trustees at their meeting on January 21 that thirty-eight paintings and sculptures from the private collection of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows were being donated by the Meadows Foundation to the DMFA. According to Foundation President, Curtis W. Meadows, Jr., "This gift fulfills an often stated intention on the part of Algur and Betty Meadows to donate their magnificent Impressionist and modern works collection to the City's fine arts museum and for the benefit of the people of Dallas." Describing the gift as "the most valuable ever received by the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts," Director Harry S. Parker III commented: "The Meadows' aesthetic taste and generosity are reflected throughout our art collection. Their donations are the basis of our excellent group of New York School of Action paintings, and AI Meadows took the lead in the Museum's acquisition of the Wise Collection of ancient pre-Columbian art. Betty Meadows' fondness for French Impressionism is very evident in this latest and most generous gift of the superb paintings she and her husband collected together."

A total of twenty-six different artists are represented in the historic gift to the Museum. The collection itself was formed over many years by the well known Dallas art patrons and philanthropists as a personal pursuit and counterpart to their impressive collection of Spanish paintings, which today form the foundation of the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University. Following the death of Algur H. Meadows in June, 1978, the thirty-eight Impressionist and modern works of art were transferred to the Meadows Foundation, which placed the collection on loan at the DMFA prior to the official donation recently announced by the Foundation. To honor this momentous gift and to celebrate its entry as a permanent part of the Museum's collection, Director Parker and Chief Curator, Dr. Steven Nash, announced that a selection of works from the remarkable gift would go on view at the Museum on March 9. The exhibit is intended not only as a commemoration of the gift itself, but also as a tribute to Mr. and Mrs. Meadows who have so generously served the Museum for many years as Benefactor Trustees.

The Meadows Foundation gift to the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts is exceptional both in its art historical importance and size, spanning in date and style from the Impressionists to Abstract Expressionism, and encompassing such major artists as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Berthe Morisot, Eugène Boudin, Edouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, Robert Delaunay, Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, Richard Diebenkorn, and Sam Francis.

Perhaps most outstanding about the contents of the collection is its strong representation of French Impressionism. Two significant works by Monet, Valle Buona, Near Bordighera of 1884 (1981.127) and a circular Waterlilies of 1908 (1981.128), augment an earlier work by this important artist already in the Museum's collection to form a particularly deep and well rounded group. A charming and dashingly executed study of Winter (Woman with a Muff) by Morisot (1981.129), who was not previously represented in the DMFA collection, and a work entitled Peasant Carrying Two Bundles of Hay (1981.132) from the middle period of Pissarro's development, are also notable Impressionist additions.

Other paintings included in the gift are Edouard Vuillard 's Interior (1981.137) and Pierre Bonnard 's Nude, Yellow Background (1981.101), both of which reflect the Intimist mood and rich patterning that typify the stylistic innovations of the Nabis group. Cubism in one of its more colorful manifestations is evident in Delaunay's Eiffel Tower of 1924 (1981.105), one of a long and famous series of painted essays he executed on the soaring structure of this Parisian landmark. In a more somber expressionistic vein are Georges Rouault's The Horseman (1981.134) and Amedeo Modigliani's Portrait of a Young Woman (1981.126).

Works of a contemporary nature are also well represented in the Meadows Foundation gift, and document various aspects of Abstract Expressionism and later Color Field developments. Still's Untitled of 1964 (1981.136) is the first by this pioneering abstractionist to enter the Museum's collections. Robert Motherwell 's elegant In Black and White, No.1 of 1966 (1981.130) complements another Motherwell work in the Museum's collection, Elegy to the Spanish Republic 108 (1967.7); a large canvas (1981.133) from Rothko's mature phase gives depth to the DMFA's holdings in this area. Kenneth Noland's Shade (1967; 1981.131) is representative of the artist's striped, diamond-shaped series, and Sam Francis' Emblem of 1960 (1981.117) is a large and superb example of his bursting color compositions following the cellular paintings of the 1950s. Richard Diebenkorn 's Ocean Park No. 29 (1981.106) is an unusually early example of his well known Ocean Park series.

Altogether, the generous donation by the Meadows Foundation of these thirty-eight works of art significantly enriches the Museum's permanent collections in several important areas.

Adapted from

DMA Press release for Recent Gifts from the Meadows Collection (exhibition; March 9-April 25, 1982), January 22, 1982.

Related Multimedia

Oral History interview with George and Schatzie Lee

Web Resources

  • The Meadows Foundation
    Check out the Foundation's continuing efforts to promote the mental and physical health of Texans.

  • Meadows Museum
    Look through the renowned collection of Spanish art that led to the creation of the Meadows Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University in 1965.