2010 Archives

Long-lost Texas artwork is discovered


The following column by Bud Kennedy appeared in the March 27, 2010, edition of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Sam Ratcliffe, head of special collections in SMU's Hamon Arts Library, provided expertise for this story.

March 29, 2010

By Bud Kennedy
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram

One of the most important paintings in Texas history has turned up in a West Virginia attic.

For generations, art historians have looked for The Battle of San Jacinto, a smaller 1901 version of a showpiece 1898 mural in the Texas Capitol, painted from survivors' stories by San Antonio artist H.A. McArdle.

A Dallas auction house will sell the San Jacinto painting in November after one of the artist's grandchildren found it in a family attic in a northern West Virginia town.

"This is a stunning discovery," said historian Sam Ratcliffe, author of the book Painting Texas History to 1900 and head of special collections in the Hamon Arts Library at Southern Methodist University.

"This is a painting of one of the most significant battles in North American history, by the most visionary painter in Texas history," Ratcliffe said.

Irish-born art professor and artist Harry McArdle -- originally, Henry -- interviewed hundreds of survivors to paint both San Jacinto and his other definitive mural in the Texas Capitol, Dawn at the Alamo.

Read the full story.

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