Thank You Fort Worth: An Appreciation

Thank You Fort Worth: An Appreciation

January 9, 2009 – February 27, 2009

The history of Dallas based Valley House Gallery, the oldest continuously operating modern art gallery in Texas, and the development of the art scene in Fort Worth have been linked since the 1940’s. If it were not for Fort Worth’s vibrant contemporary art scene, Valley House Gallery might never have been built, and its current owner, Kevin Vogel, might not have been born. As a thank you to the citizens of Fort Worth, Valley House is pleased to present an exhibition of contemporary art to celebrate an association that has lasted over 60 years.

When artist Donald S. Vogel arrived in Dallas in 1942 from Chicago, he wanted to live in a community with a growing art scene to which he could contribute. He found the Dallas art world steeped in a regionalist movement that he found “unforgiving and depressing”. He quickly made friends with many of the Fort Worth artists who he found to be open to new ideas and international in their philosophical approach. He spent free time in Fort Worth getting to know these artists. It was at a party at the home of Fort Worth artists Dixon and Flora Reeder that he met Margaret Mayer, the daughter of Roland G. Mayer, then Plant Manager at Convair. They were eventually married and decided to make Dallas their home, but their associations with Fort Worth never ended.

Donald Vogel became the director of Dallas’ Betty McLean Gallery in 1951, which was considered the first modern art gallery in Texas. Because of Vogel’s respect for the artists of Fort Worth, he highlighted four of them with one-person shows and included many of them in two group exhibitions over the three year life of the gallery

. In 1954, the Fort Worth Art Center opened in the building that now houses the Fort Worth Community Art Center. This same year, Donald and Margaret Vogel officially opened Valley House Gallery in rural far North Dallas. Initially the gallery was located in their home and in Donald’s studio on a 4.2 acre heavily wooded lot on a dead end county road. In 1957 the current gallery was opened and in 1959 the sculpture garden was created.

Over the next 30 years, the Vogels’ associations with Fort Worth included two exhibitions and accompanying catalogues of the dry brush watercolors of Scott Gentling. Vogel arranged a traveling exhibition of the paintings by Clara McDonald Williamson at the Amon Carter Museum and wrote the exhibition catalogue with his wife. A traveling exhibition and catalogue of Velox Ward’s paintings followed at The Carter soon after. Vogel also arranged for one person exhibitions at The Fort Worth Art Center for artists Thomas Duncan Benrimo and Claude Venard.

Since Donald and Margaret Vogel’s second son Kevin and his wife Cheryl took over in the early 1980’s, the gallery represents a new generation of Fort Worth artists. The gallery continues to work on projects related to the interests of the Amon Carter Museum and the early Fort Worth artists. To show our appreciation for Fort Worth, Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden is pleased to present an exhibition of works by our contemporary artists. Fort Worth artists Ron Cheek, Cindi Holt, Sedrick Huckaby, and Jim Woodson will be included in this survey of the American and international artists that the gallery represents. We invite you to share our excitement at being able bring this exhibition to Fort Worth.