Bill Condon Main Street Houston Mixed Media c1965 60x50 inches -1.jpg

In October 1894, James Perkins Richardson wrote from Galveston to his sister, Emma Richardson Cherry, then living in Denver, to discourage her from relocating to a “mud-hole called Houston.”  At the time, Houston was a town of barely 30,000 people; Richardson was a recent Yale graduate who would one day found the prestigious Prosso Preparatory School in the city; and Cherry was a professional artist who would almost singlehandedly lay the foundation of the vibrant art center that Houston would become. Barely 70 years later, by the 1960s, the population of the city had grown 30 fold, and Houston was known worldwide as “Space City.”   Mud-hole to Space City in a single lifetime: What a trajectory.  And what a revolution in visioning the city such a transformation required.

Showing that re-visioning through the eyes and works of Houston’s own artists is the goal of the exhibition Houston Paints Houston.  It is our hope that by bringing together, from public and private collections, more than 60 works created over more than 130 years, we can help present-day Houstonians better understand how the vision of the city evolved, and helped create the modern city in which we live.

This exhibition is half of a joint project with the umbrella title South and North of the Border, to be mounted in conjunction with the Ideson Gallery of Houston Public Library, where Houston Paints Mexico will explore how our artists helped create our understanding of our closest, and in many ways, most important neighbor.  The two shows together are corner stones of the Festival of Earlier Houston Art taking place in institutions and galleries all over Houston during the fall of 2018.

Image: Bill Condon
"Main Street, Houston"
Mixed Media
60x50 inches
Collection of Leila and Henri Gadbois