Treasure of art available here at city library

Where else but Texas would anybody think it was cool when the temperature hoovers around 99 degrees!

But it has felt much cooler this week, with almost a slight touch of fall in the air in the evening. We have actually been able to sit on the porch and maybe, just maybe, this will help us make it through the rest of September and most of October when it's over 100 degrees again. Here's hoping.


No, Rockdale doesn't have an art museum or an art gallery, but you may be surprised by the quality and quantity of pieces of the art collection of the late Dr. George Patterson that are on display at our city library. Dr. Patterson provided funds to the library in memory of his mother, Lucy Hill Patterson, for whom the library is named, and he left the art work to the library from his estate upon his death.

Annette Stone recently presented information about the paintings and other art work to members of the Thursday Reading Club and gave each member a brochure put together by Annette and Jane Holliman that is available at the library and tells about the artists, the paintings and where they are displayed in the building. Many of the works are landscape paintings depicting scenes from the American West, Central Texas and even from the Austrian countryside. With the brochure, you can walk around the library and see these beautiful paintings and know what you're viewing at the same time.

Two paintings in the collection are portraits of Dr. Patterson. Both were painted by Bill Hampton (1925-1977), a listed Southwestern artist who was also a magazine illustrator and artist for Walt Disney studio. One of the paintings is of Dr. Patterson posing on a horse. It is located above the computer bank on the east wall of the library. The other portrait was damaged in the fire of his home that claimed Dr. Patterson's life. It is not displayed at this time.

Two of the works are by Palmer Chrisman, a Temple physician, who began his career as an artist after he returned from World War II. He studied with Porfirio Salinas, a Texas artist of national acclaim. The library paintings are landscapes of the Central Texas countryside strewn with bluebonnets. The paintings are dated 1957 and 1962. The late President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered 30 Chrisman paintings one year to be given as Christmas gifts from the White House and his art work is displayed in both private and public collections around the country. They are displayed in the library Vogel annex along the ramp.

Robert Wood, a nationally recognized artist, was born in Sandgate, England in 1889 and immigrated to Los Angeles in 1912 but lived in many areas of the United States. His landscapes include areas of California, Southwestern desert scenes, Texas bluebonnets and the Woodstock area of New York. He died in 1979. Two of his paintings are displayed at the library in the director's office.

Eight of the 22 works from the Patterson collection are by Bill Bender, a California artist who had careers as a civilian artist for the U. S. Air Force, cowhand and movie stuntman. He is a listed artist of the American West. His paintings are displayed at the Ackerman entrance, the landing of the stairs leading to the children's section, and at the south end of the annex building ramp.

A landscape of the Viennese woods was painted by Fr. Berolding and hangs on the wall of the access ramp in the Vogel annex. The beautiful view of Berolding's native Austrian countryside is a significant work in the library collection. Other artists in the collection are E. M. Moore, Hilary Page, Jim Bittany, Geri Flower and Jack Bryant.

Other art work includes photography of area scenes, a Kabuki Samurai Doll which was presented to Alcoa from Komatsu Ltd., an aluminum "splash" also donated by Alcoa and an author's gallery above the main desk which includes photos from the successful "Meet the Authors" series at the library. They are Liz Carpenter (Start with a Laugh), Steven Harrigan (Gates of the Alamo), Don Graham (Kings of Texas), James Haley (A New Look at Sam Houston), H. W. Brands (Lone Star Nation) and Hal Haralson (Gentle Mercies, Stories of Faith).

I plan to spend a little more time the next time I visit the library to look over the art collection and I hope you will too.


Before I get off this subject, the next "Meet the Author" visit will be by Garna Christian, professor at the University of Houston downtown. He has written a book of very local interest, "George Sessions Perry—the Man and His Work," a chronological history of the author's life.

He will be at our library on Oct. 22 from 6 to 7:30 p. m. to discuss the book and meet the locals.

And, speaking of locals, the book is dedicated to his "Rockdale cousin and confidante," Iola Avrett. Don't miss this!

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2009-09-03 digital edition

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