Artists & Designers
From 1928 to 1948, the art-life of Texas was dominated by the activities and accomplishments of a group of younger artists, collectively known as "The Nine," whose work fell within the broader 1930s stylistic category of Regionalism. Though centered in Dallas, these artists were recognized at a national level early in their careers, and, as a result, the formation of a "Texas School" was widely acknowledged by several important commentators. At the height of their activities, as many as twenty-five artists were involved as a loosely structured collective, with artists Jerry Bywaters, Otis Dozier, Charles Bowling, William Lester, Everett Spruce, and Alexandre Hogue forming the core of the Texas regionalist group. Additional artists associated with the group included Michael G. Owen, Allie V. Tennant, Dorothy Austin, Merritt T. Mauzey, Russell Vernon Hunter, Florence R. McClung, Thomas M. Stell, Jr., Harry Carnohan, John Douglass, Perry Nichols, Don Brown, and Lloyd Goff.
The "Dallas Nine" drew inspiration from diverse sources, including indigenous Native American design, Italian quattrocento painting, and French surrealist theory, as well as from contemporary art. Their work is characterized by an individual stylistic approach to subject matter that reflected a regional interpretation and often incorporated religious iconography.
The work of the "Dallas Nine" was prominent in the large exhibition of art at the Texas Centennial Exposition of 1936 and was featured in a special issue of Art Digest. By that time, several of the artists had developed into articulate spokesmen for their cause. When their work was exhibited at the Golden Gate Exposition in San Francisco in 1939 and at the New York Worlds Fair the same year, many writers felt that Texas was one of the most vigorous and promising new regions in American art.
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art Bulletin (1984 Winter), 10.
Read Kendall Curlee's entry for this group on the Handbook of Texas Online (Published by the Texas State Historical Association).