Good Bull at The Forsyth Galleries

Good Bull at The Forsyth Galleries

Text by Lynn C. McDaniel, Communications Specialist for the University Art Department

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Photos by Heather Bennett, Collections Manager for the Forsyth Galleries

As mentioned in an earlier blog, conservation and care of the statues and memorials on campus is one of the jobs of the University Art Galleries Department.  Some time back, the Forsyth Galleries made long-term loans of two sculptures to the Large Animal Clinic.  Although the pieces were displayed inside the building, they were not kept in a climate-controlled environment.  Eventually, time and the elements took their toll, and moisture collected under the bases, causing corrosion.  Collections Manager Heather Bennett and Assistant Collections Manager Josh Harden recently brought the statues back to the Forsyth Galleries’ work area to clean them and ensure their preservation.

The sculptures, titled The Bellowing Bull and The Charging Bull, are sand-cast bronze.   Artist Isadore Jules Bonheur, known for his domestic cattle and bull works, first exhibited this matching pair of bulls at the 1865 Paris Salon.  The stunning bronzes feature a deep brown patina with prominent casting details that give the bulls a sense of realism and muscular motion.

The moisture that had collected under the base was causing the bronze to oxidize.  Josh used a toothbrush and ionized water to clean away the active corrosion.  Ionized water is water that has had its acid and alkaline content segregated.  After the first cleaning, the object will be cleaned again with baking soda to completely neutralize the active corrosion.

Once the cleaning is complete, the statues will be returned to the Large Animal Clinic for the continued enjoyment of those who work, study and visit that facility.

For more information about Isadore Jules Bonheur, please click here.  For more information about the Large Animal Hospital, please click here.

Additional Information:

1.)    The Victoria and Albert Museum:  The Artificial Patination of Bronze Sculptures:  http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/journals/conservation-journal/issue-31/the-artificial-patination-of-bronze-sculpture/

2.)    Causes of Corrosion:  http://water.me.vccs.edu/concepts/corrosioncauses.html

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12 Days Countdown–12/6/2012.

Text by Lynn McDaniel

Day six of the 12 days countdown addresses one of my favorite topics related to Texas A&M University—the six core values defined by the University in its vision for students, staff, faculty and former students. Working on campus is such a pleasure, because (almost without exception) the students I interact with each day are uplifting, positive role models who are seeking ways and opportunities to better themselves through education.

Here at the Forsyth, at the Stark and in the University Arts Department, we seek to provide students with the opportunity to see and experience fine art, to interact with professors and programming opportunities that will enrich their lives, and to educate our guests about the importance of the paintings, sculptures and memorials on campus. These goals are in conjunction with the core values outlined by the University, which are:
1. Excellence—Set the Bar.
2. Integrity—Character is Destiny.
3. Leadership—Follow Me.
4. Loyalty—Acceptance Forever.
5. Respect—We are the Aggies, the Aggies are we.
6. Selfless Service—How can I be of Service?

We, in the University Arts Department, strive to set the bar for excellence by providing world-class art exhibitions, which inspire students to cherish and respect art. We believe in integrity—our gallery attendants and docents help educate our guests on the proper, respectful way to view and interpret art. We are leaders in art appreciation—we strive to help our guests understand the history and importance of art. We are loyal to the University, to our patrons and to those who love and contribute to the world of art. We respect not only the artists who have different visions for what art is, but also our patrons who may or may not appreciate those visions. We strive to serve our patrons by providing education and opportunities for interaction, interpretation and personal growth.

For more information about the six Core Values at Texas A&M and the various programs and visions associated, please click here. For more information about the University Arts Department, please click here.

12 Days Countdown–12/5/2012.

Text by Lynn McDaniel

Texas A&M sports fans don’t need a lot of prodding when it comes to cheering for their teams, however, five Yell Leaders do a superb job of heightening the Aggie Spirit during games and special events. Each year, the student body elects five students (three seniors and two juniors) to represent the official spirit organization. Females can run for the Yell Leader positions, but traditionally the student body has elected males. These five Yell Leaders do not do cheerleader-type gymnastics or cheers; instead, they use hand signals, called “pass backs,” to get fans excited and direct the yells of the crowd.

First Yell, which occurs on the weekend of the first home football game, started in 1999 as a way of welcoming all Aggies back to campus. Midnight Yell began in 1931, when freshmen corps cadets were ordered by senior Yell Leaders Horsefly Berryhill and Two Gun Herman from Sherman to be at the YMCA building at midnight. Today, Midnight Yell is held the night before a home game in Kyle Field and also in a designated site in the opponent’s city for away-games.

Farmers Fight
[Pass Back: Closed fists rotating around each other in alternating directions]
Farmers fight!
Farmers fight!
Fight! Fight!
Farmers, farmers fight!

The Forsyth, located just across the street from Kyle Field, provides a cool (or warm) respite for Aggie sports fans who want to get out of the heat or cold just before or just after a game. We’re open Tuesday – Friday: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm and Saturday – Sunday: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm (not during Midnight Yell!) Come by and see us…we’re sure you’ll enjoy fine art exhibitions from the Runyon collection–well, maybe not enough to yell about, but we do encourage you to give a shout-out to your friends and tell them about our galleries!

12 Days Countdown–12/1/2012.

Text by Lynn McDaniel

Did you know Texas A&M University, (originally named the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas), is Texas’ first public institution of higher education?

The Agricultural and Mechanical College was founded on April 17, 1871, five years after the Eleventh Texas Legislature approved a joint resolution on November 1, 1866, which ratified the Federal Morrill Land-Grant College Act of July 2, 1862. The terms of the Morrill Land-Grant Act provided lands “in equal quantity to 30,000 acres” for each senator and representative in Congress for the establishment of at least one college, “where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts.” Texas A&M is one of the few universities in the nation to hold triple federal designations as a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant university.

From that humble beginning in 1871, Texas A&M University has grown into one of the nation’s premier research universities, providing students the opportunity to excel in studies of agriculture/life sciences, architecture, education, geosciences, liberal arts, science, veterinary medicine, engineering, government/public service, and business.

In order to provide Texas A&M students the opportunity to see and experience fine arts, the Forsyth Galleries were established in 1989 as a museum to house the Bill (TAMU class of 1935) and Irma Runyon Art Collection. The Runyon Collection contains one of the world’s leading collections of English Cameo Glass, Tiffany and Steuben glass and other 19th and early 20th century art glass, as well as an important collection of American paintings.

The Forsyth Galleries, along with the Stark Galleries, the University Art Department, and the student-run Visual Arts Committee, provide world-class works of art in a wide variety of styles and mediums to stimulate and educate the students at Texas A&M University. All exhibitions are free of charge, allowing students (faculty and staff) to pursue their creativity and explore the world of art at will, supporting the mission of Texas A&M.

Works Cited

Dethloff , Henry C. “TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY,” Handbook of Texas Online. (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/kct08). Published by the Texas State Historical Association. Date accessed: 12/3/12.

Division of Marketing and Communications. Website: http://marcomm.tamu.edu/documents/tamuFacts.pdf. Date accessed: 12/3/12.
Texas A&M University. Website: http://www.tamu.edu/about/facts/history.html. Date accessed: 12/3/12.

Forsyth Galleries. Website: http://forsyth.tamu.edu/history.html. Date accessed: 12/3/12.

Frederic Sackrider Remington and The American West

Text by Lynn C. McDaniel, Communications Specialist, University Art Galleries Department

The Forsyth Galleries has, in its collection, some important paintings by artists who focused their talents on the American West, including Joseph Henry Sharp, Charles Marion Russell, and (among others) Albert Bierstadt. One of the many favorites currently on exhibition is a painting called Modern Comanche, by Frederic Remington.
Painting by Frederic Remington of Modern Comanche
Frederic Sackrider Remington was born in 1861 in Canton, New York, and grew up in the Eastern United States. He took his first trip west when he was 20 years old. Although Remington moved west for a short period of time, and visited quite often to acquire inspiration for his paintings, he and his wife found the life difficult and ended up moving back to New York.

As one who loved adventure and a good story, Remington used his skills as an illustrator, painter, novelist, journalist, and sculptor to create his own version of the wild west. More than the west inspiring Remington’s paintings, Remington, with his bold sense of color, light and his focus on the cowboy and Native American conflict, created America’s popular vision of who and what America represented—bravery, adventure, man against man, and man against nature.

Much of the cinematography of Director John Ford’s western films was based on the works of Remington, Russell and Von Schmidt, but Remington seemed to be his greatest influence. Ford’s cavalry movies, including “Fort Apache,” “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon,” and “Rio Grande,” among many others, have become film tributes to the works of artists of the American west.

Ford stated, “When I did ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’, I tried to have the cameras photograph it as Remington would have sketched and painted it. It came out beautifully and was very successful in this respect, I think. When I did ‘The Searchers,’ I used a Charles Russell motif. These were two of our greatest western artists, of course.” (Howze)

Ford also borrowed techniques from Remington–such as diagonal composition and specific gestures illustrated by the artist–to flesh out his films. But art imitating life eventually became life rewritten by art. In a scene from “Fort Apache,” John Wayne’s character, Captain Yorke, discusses a painting named Thursday’s Charge with newspaper men. The painting depicts a brave charge, led by Colonel Thursday, against savage Apaches in warpaint. Although Captain Yorke knows the charge was ill-conceived and reckless, he maintains the bravado of the Colonel and states that the painting is “Correct in every detail.” Similarly, in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” one of the actors notes, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

Although he was a prolific and brilliant artist, Remington’s attitudes and personal beliefs aligned with the times, and he made several racist and bigoted remarks in letters to friends. He is reviled by some both for his comments, and for his paintings of battle scenes with white soldiers and cowboys dominating their bloody victims, such as in The Battle of Warbonnet Creek. But Remington was an American of the late 1800s and early 1900s. His views were reflective of his time and sympathetic to the American Cowboy, not to Native Americans or so-called “foreigners.” (Pinder)

In 1897, Remington was sent to Cuba in the wake of the Spanish American War to work as an illustrator/journalist for William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal. During this time, rumors of “one of the most famous stories in American journalism” was widely reported. Remington supposedly telegraphed to Hearst, “Everything is quiet. There is no trouble here. There will be no war. I wish to return.” Hearst was reported to have replied, “Please remain. You furnish the pictures, and I’ll furnish the war.” In “Not likely sent: The Remington-Hearst ‘Telegrams,’ “ W. Joseph Campbell states that it is “exceedingly unlikely that such messages were ever sent,” and was more likely a case of trying to prove that, by using yellow journalism, Hearst and his newspaper had forced the United States into war. (Campbell)

Revered and respected as an artist, Remington died when he was only 48 years old, succumbing to peritonitis after an emergency appendectomy. His legacy included more than 2,750 paintings and illustrations, eight books (including novels and collections of magazine articles) and 25 original sculptures (from which many castings were made).

In addition to Modern Comanche, the Forsyth Galleries are proud to offer our patrons the opportunity to view two other outstanding Remington paintings: Cowboys on a Cattle Thief’s Trail and Crossing Water to Escape a Prairie Fire, as well as paintings by Russell, Farny, Sharp, Fechin and many other celebrated Western artists.

Works Cited:

Ballinger, James K. Frederick Remington Art Museum. Website: http://fredericremington.org. Published 1989. Date accessed: November 12, 2012.

Buscombe, Edward. Painting the Legend: Frederic Remington and the Western. Cinema Journal , Vol. 23, No. 4 (Summer, 1984), pp. 12-27 . Published by: University of Texas Press on behalf of the Society for Cinema & Media Studies . Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1225261. Date accessed: November 13, 2012.

Campbell, W. Joseph. “Not likely sent: The Remington-Hearst ‘Telegrams”. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly.Website: http://www.academic2.american.edu/~wjc/notlikely.htm. Published Summer 2000. Date accessed: November 13, 2012.

Howze, W. The Influence of Western Painting and Genre Painting on the Films of John Ford, Connexions Website: http://cnx.org/content/col11357/1.1/. Sep 2, 2011. Date accessed: November 12, 2012.

Pinder, Kymberly N. Race-ing Art History: Critical Readings in Race and Art History. Published in 2002 by Routledge. Website: http://books.google.com/books?id=vk0k8qFPjykC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false. Date accessed: November 12, 2012.

Van Houten, Amy. The Spanish American War Centennial. Website: http://www.spanamwar.com/remington.htm. Date published: Unknown. Date accessed: November 12, 2012.