Digital collection provides 'new dimensions' to Texas art

Octavio Medellin untitled linocut Untitled linocut, Octavio Medellin, 1975. Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library.

Complete sketchbooks by Jerry Bywaters and DeForrest Judd are among the unique assets that art scholars and enthusiasts located anywhere on the globe can view in the "Texas Artists: Paintings, Sculpture, and Works on Paper" digital collection.

Marc Bateman '71, vice president and treasurer of the Texas Art Collectors Organization (TACO), notes that the online resource "adds new dimensions for research and appreciation" of many of the state's trailblazing artists.

Bateman and other members of TACO learned about the collection during a special program hosted by Central University Libraries in November. Sam Ratcliffe, head of the Bywaters Special Collections, and Ellen Buie Niewyk, curator, joined Cindy Boeke, CUL Digital Collections Developer, in providing an introduction to the searchable database.

"One of our organization's educational goals is to increase awareness and participation in the effort at SMU," says Bateman.

"Texas Artists," which contains approximately 1,500 digital images of paintings, sculpture and works on paper, is a joint project of SMU's Bywaters Special Collections in Hamon Arts Library and Norwick Center for Digital Services in Fondren Library Center; the Dallas Museum of Art; and the Dallas Public Library's Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division and Fine Books Division.

"The importance of the digital collection to scholars and collectors will only increase as SMU expands its database," says Bateman. "That is one of the main things that makes it so exciting: the fact that it is dynamic and evolving so rapidly."

More than a dozen early Texas artists are represented in the collection. Some of the artists' family members attended the event, including Helen Bowling, daughter-in-law of Charles T. Bowling; Pat Bywaters, grandson of Jerry Bywaters; and Mary Belle Judd, widow of DeForrest Judd, and their son, DeForrest Judd Jr.