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GALLERY PAN: Well, most of it anyway.  I don't know what happened to the disc with the last 4 or 5 photos that would complete the 360 panorama, but you get the idea. 

The Sid Richardson Collection of Western Art:
From Oil Wells to Oil Paintings

Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY

Texas culture is way underrated, even by locals.  
One of the primary icons of America is the Cowboy. 
And that type, apart from its real roots in the Vaquero tradition,
is (mostly) Texan.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to come up short on credit for any other state, race or such.  But we all know the facts.   "Texan" and "cowboy" are synonymous. Unfortunately the meaning of "cowboy" has (like myth) strayed wide from the facts.  Cowboys aren't loose cannons and myths aren't lies.   But I digress...


On second thought, perhaps not.  Cowboys are kinda like frisky females -- independent loners, wounded but kind, courteous and fierce as appropriate to the occasion, and restless to the extreme. 
       Being an artist and a Texan, as I've written before, is a hard road to hoe.  The general notion is we're prone to hyperbole, ill-informed and no deeper than a dry creek bed.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  And Texas culture is tough to defend.   Having worked my up the cultural food chain as an artist in New York City back in the late 60s you can take what I'm saying to any bank in the state. 

remington.jpg (29965 bytes)       Meanwhile back in the museum...    If I ever had artistic heroes, after Van Gogh, Kirt Schwitters and Marcel Duchamp they'd be Charlie Russel, Frederic Remington and Carl Bodmer. So when I realized the Sid Richard Museum was dedicated to the works of Russell and Remington I knew where I'd hold out for the better part of the day..
       Entering the place, I  went straight away to the woman behind the cash register at the Gift Shop to pay admission and ask for permission to take a few photos.  I knew about Forth Worth's free parking lots but I never figured on a free museum.  Which just goes to show, some of the best things in life are... well you know.
charlie.jpg (30357 bytes)        The lady said I could take all of the pictures I wanted which surprised me to the extreme, cause most museums don't allow such going's on.   The next thing I knew the museum's Director, Jan Brenneman, approached me, gently inquiring as to my intent.  Hearing my explanation she presented me with this really keen press packet complete with a handsomely illustrated store catalog and such.  (This "travel writer" business has its high points!)
       The Sid Richardson Collection of Western Art was opened in 1982 some 22 years after the legendary oilman's death (b.1891-d.1959). A fair sized book could be on Richardson.  However, since my abilities don't reach that high I'd like to pass along a few of his quotes which say as much about the man as anything.
       "Why, I've been broke so many times I thought it was habit forming."
       "Luck helped me, too, every day of my life.   And I'd rather be lucky than smart 'cause a lot of smart people ain't eatin' regular."
       And, "You ain't learnin' nothin' when you're talkin'!" 
      The rich and famous didn't get any special consideration from Richardson.  When a White House staffer called with an invitation to lunch Sid asked,"What are they going to have?"  "Well, Mr. Richardson," the staffer replied, "I don't know what they're going to have, but I don't think you'll get a better deal."
       In stature Richardson was what you might call partly-tall.  As Frank X. Tolbert wrote in the Dallas Morning News, Richardson "had estimated that he was six feet tall when standing on his good right leg.  When he was standing on his left leg he was only 5 feet, 10 inches in altitude" due to a fracture suffered at age 15 which caused his left leg to be the shorter of the two.
       Oilman, art collector and philanthropist, Richardson's legacy presently managed by the Sid Richardson Foundation which provides grants toTurnA.jpg (4971 bytes) nonprofit organizations in Texas to help them fulfill their missions. Grants are made primarily in education, healthcare, human services, and the arts. 
       Richardson rounded up the world's best collection of paintings by Charles Russell and Frederick Remington and corralled them in Fort Worth.   Ya' gotta love it.  I think there's even a law.



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