Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Jay Hester in the Boerne Star and the Dominion Magazine



J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art would like to thank Connie Clark of the Boerne Star and Hill Country Council for the Arts for her wonderful write-up on Jay Hester and his new artwork for "TEXAS- Stories of the Land" exhibition in the Sept. 23, 2016 edition of the Boerne Star newspaper.


 

J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art is proud to showcase the recently published article by staff writer Gina Martinez in the Oct edition of The Dominion Magazine on Jay Hester.


Click here to read the article online:
https://issuu.com/smvpublications/docs/dominion_1016_lr/1?e=1362285/39176950
 
Read Now


TEXAS - Stories of the Land

 

By: Gina Martinez


Celebrated artist Jay Hester weaves tales of western romanticism surrounding legends of the Texas Hill Country in his upcoming solo exhibition: “TEXAS - Stories of the Land.”  Hester, a prolific painter with a long career steeped in traditional landscapes and western themes, has created commissioned works for Texas Tech University, USAA in San Antonio, the Zaragosa Theater at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and the Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, to name a few.  This exhibition, scheduled for October at the J.R. Mooney Gallery of Fine Arts in Boerne, is the artist’s first solo show in almost twenty years.  For this show the affectionately known “Godfather” of the Boerne art scene applies his skills to the histories, legends and characters that helped shape the Texas Hill Country of today.

Hester’s exploration of western romanticism is set against an unsure and sometimes violent backdrop of natives, pioneers, and rangers in “TEXAS - Stories of the Land.”  His storyboard includes raids, battles, and surgeries with characters such as one of Boerne’s founding fathers, Dr. Ferdinand Herff, and Texas Ranger John “Jack” Coffee Hayes.  Hester used historical sources to corroborate with his artistic vision.  He is aware of the discrepancies and contradictions that usually come up in historical research.  He has many stories to choose from, and Hester tells them in his style using beautiful lighting and tough looking characters.  He blends them into paintings that highlight moments of peace and courage during tense times.

The strongest example of the artist’s vision is the show’s centerpiece, “The Healer.”  The painting shows Dr. Ferdinand Herff’s pioneering cataract surgery on a Comanche chief.  Dr. Herff was a German doctor for the Prussian army who eventually settled in Texas.  He helped start the Bettina colonies as well as Boerne.  This revolutionary surgery, possibly the first in the country, was performed in the 1840’s outdoors and without anesthesia.  Needless to say, the event created a bond between the Comanche band and Herff‘s group which resulted in some peace.  Herff would go on to become the chief medical examiner for San Antonio, pioneering more surgeries and medical practices.  He was one of the most sought after practitioners of his day.  “Dr. Herff became a larger than life figure in our area with all he accomplished as a young doctor in this uncertain country. His fair treatment of all people gained him respect by many tribes of Indians, as well as the rugged settlers of this part of Texas,” says Hester.

 Another example of western romanticism inspired by legends about Boerne is Hester’s painting of the white arrow.  By the 1880’s most surviving Native Americans lived on reservations.  Quanah Parker had already surrendered and the Texas Indian Wars were over.  However, there were still small resistance groups of Lipan Apache eking out their existence in the Hill Country.  Legend has it that sometime during the 1880’s an elder Dr. Herff took his family to their Boerne homestead for a vacation from the busy city life in San Antonio.  At the same time one of those groups of Lipan Apaches raided Boerne.  The Herffs quickly boarded up their home and took shelter for the night, able to hear the sounds of pillaging in town.  The next morning one of Herff’s sons went outside to survey the damage.  To his surprise, their lands were untouched.  There was a white-feathered arrow shot into the homestead fence post.  This type of arrow was a Lipan Apache sign to the raiders to leave the homestead in peace.  It was said to have been shot by a Lipan Apache warrior who remembered the doctor had helped his family.  Hester’s painting shows the dramatic moment the raiding warriors arrive at the Herff homestead.  The bold setting sun is surrounded by the dark storm clouds and the white-feathered arrow stands out against the darker palette.  Hester captures the climactic moment when the leading raider, weapon drawn, turns away.

Other paintings in “TEXAS - Stories of the Land” depict serene scenes that highlight the peaceful achievement of the communities.  One showcases the unlikely friendship between Texas Ranger John (Jack) Coffee Hayes and Lipan-Apache chief, Flacco the Younger.  Flacco would accompany Hayes on expeditions serving as a guide.  The two became close and traveled together until Flacco was murdered, possibly by white settlers.  Hester chose to reflect on happier times.  The painting shows them riding through quiet, serene Joshua Creek.  The steep walls of the limestone cliffs reflect the warm afternoon light and the still creek.  Hester’s colorful foliage indicates it is fall and the two ride at a casual pace probably enjoying the nice weather.  A sense of companionship permeates the canvas and far away is the fighting that preoccupied much of these men’s time.

Perhaps the most serene of the group, ”Lasting Friendship,” depicts the Meusebach Peace Treaty, which was also immortalized by Hester in bronze at the Markt Platz on the main square in Fredericksburg.  The painting depicts chief Buffalo Hump offering the peace pipe to John Meusebach.  The chief sits calmly with his legs crossed and Meusebach accepts the pipe on bended knee.  The Comanche warriors and elders surround him in anticipation.  What is of note is that the Comanche treaties were made specifically with the Germans.  The Comanche considered them displaced people.  The tribe did not make peace with Mexico, Texas or the United States.
 
Finally, the painting “Lena’s Legend” represents hope.  Pioneer times in Texas were rough and too often families were torn apart.  Even once a settlement was established there was no guarantee it would prosper, let alone survive.  There was disease, hunger and the constant fear of raids.  No one living there was immune and it was common practice for Comanche to take prisoners of war, or slaves, after battles or raids.  Lena was a Mexican child living with the Comanche under these circumstances.  As a gesture of friendship, she joined the settlers in Bettina colony shortly after Dr. Herff’s cataract surgery on the chief.  Although she was not reunited with her biological family, Lena adopted a new one at the German colony.  She learned the language and found her place in the community.  She married Hermann Spiess, a prominent settler, and had a family of her own proving that a person could survive and prosper in the wild, dangerous country.

“TEXAS - Stories of the Land” runs October 8th through November 5th, 2016 at J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art in Boerne.  More information for this exhibition can be found at www.jrmooneygalleries.com.  Please join us for the opening reception with the artist at J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art in Boerne on Saturday, October 8th from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.





 

J.R. Mooney Galleries and Texas Artist, Jay Hester are proud to announce that all the paintings in the "TEXAS- Stories of the Land" exhibition will be available in limited edition signed and numbered giclee reproductions. These high quality reproductions are available now at pre-sale and will also be on sale the night of the opening, October 8, 2016. 

These wonderful paintings will only be available in limited editions of 10.
 

Call 830-816-5106 to reserve your copy!

The Healer
Oil on canvas
48” x 60”
$40,000.00

Gicleé Reproductions/ Signed and Numbered limited editions of 10
  • 24” x 30” gicleé reproductions available at $900.00
  • 24” x 30” embellished gicleé reproductions available at $1,200.00
 "As I researched this exceptional man, his persona captured my attention. I felt he was deserving of a special tribute which I hope is conveyed in the detail in this piece.”
Jay Hester

"TEXAS- Stories of the Land"

Reproductions Available

 

Lena’s Legend
Oil on canvas
20” x 30”
$6,900.00

Gicleé Reproductions/ Signed and Numbered limited editions of 10
  • 20” x 30” gicleé reproductions available at $900.00
  • 20” x 30” embellished gicleé reproductions available at $1,200.00

After Dr. Herff restored the eyesight of an Indian chief in the late 1840’s, the grateful man promised to return with a gift.  Six months later, apologizing for the delay, he appeared with his gift, a young Mexican servant girl.  The girl, accepted by Herff and adopted by the community, worked in the galley as she became familiar with her new home.  Later she married Hermann Spiess, one of the German pioneers, a friend of Herff and the successor of John Meusebach as commissioner of Adlesverein – the colonization of the Fisher-Miller Land Grant in the U.S. state of Texas.
 
"The legend of the young Mexican girl, gifted by a grateful chief and her ultimate acceptance into this German settlement, is a compelling Cinderella story.”
– Jay Hester
 

White Feather
Oil on canvas
36” x 48”
 $19,800.00

Gicleé Reproductions/ Signed and Numbered limited editions of 10
  • 30” x 40” gicleé reproductions available at $1,075.00
  • 30” x 40” embellished gicleé reproductions available at $1,375.00

In 1888, Dr. Herff performed a cataract removal procedure on an Apache chieftain. Later, when the Lipan Apache Indians were on a rampage, many ranches and farms near Boerne were raided. The noise was heard by the Herff family however, the Herff property was spared. The next day the family discovered a lone arrow embedded in their gatepost with a white feather attached- a symbol to leave the doctor and his family in peace.
 
"Respect is the theme I took from this story of Dr. Herff and his relationship with the Indian people. This was a dramatic event and I wanted to convey that drama in my interpretation of it.”
– Jay Hester
 
 

Lasting Friendship
Oil on canvas
30” x 40”
$13,800.00

Gicleé Reproductions/ Signed and Numbered limited editions of 10
  • 30” x 40” gicleé reproductions available at $1,075.00
  • 30” x 40” embellished gicleé reproductions available at $1,375.00

This painting symbolizes the treaty made between the Comanche Indians and the German settlers on the banks of the San Saba River north of Fredericksburg, Texas in 1847.  John Meusebach's lack of prejudice toward the Indians and his fair treatment gained him respect among the Comanche.  This treaty was not made by the United States, but by the German settlers of the area and was said to be the only pact between whites and Native Americans that was never broken.
Jay memorialized this event with his sculpting of three heroic size pieces, by the same name, for the city of Fredericksburg.  These can be viewed at the Markt Platz in Fredericksburg and were unveiled on the 150th anniversary of the city in 1997.
 
"I paid careful attention to what I believe had to have been the facial expressions of these leaders and participants during this momentous exchange.”
Jay Hester
 

Leaving No Trail
Oil on canvas
24” x 36”
$9,900.00

Gicleé Reproductions/ Signed and Numbered limited editions of 10
  • 24” x 36” gicleé reproductions available at $950.00
  • 24” x 36” embellished gicleé reproductions available at $1,250.00

Flacco taught early Texas Ranger Hays about the Texas frontier and about Indian battle tactics.  He watched Hays closely and was with him during many battles with the Comanche from 1840-1842.  He is said to have saved Hays life on more than one occasion.  Friendships develop in unusual circumstances and in difficult situations.  These men of diverse backgrounds traveled together, learned from one another, and formed a bond of trust as they helped protect the new settlers in their rugged Texas surroundings.
 
"The bond of friendship and the beauty of the Joshua Creek location were what I wanted to capture on canvas.”
Jay Hester
 

Sacred Ground
Oil on canvas
18” x 24”
 $4,900.00

Gicleé Reproductions/ Signed and Numbered limited editions of 10
  • 18” x 24” gicleé reproductions available at $800.00
  • 18” x 24” embellished gicleé reproductions available at $1,110.00

As legend goes; Texas Ranger Jay Hays' first law of fighting was to never back down.  When preparing to scout alone near Enchanted Rock, Hays knew the Comanche would not tolerate his intrusion on what they considered sacred land. Before heading out that morning, Hays was overheard speaking to his guns, "I may not need you, but if I do, I will need you mighty bad." It proved to be true that day on Enchanted Rock. When he was discovered the Indians attacked, however with his two Paterson Colt five-shooters and a rifle, he was much better armed than those men attacking him.  The Comanche lost the confrontation with this fearless and spirited man.
 
"In this piece, the importance of the Colt in winning the West was a focal point.”
Jay Hester
 

The Discovery
Oil on canvas
24” x 30”
$8,300.00



Gicleé Reproductions/ Signed and Numbered limited editions of 10
  • 24” x 30” gicleé reproductions available at $900.00
  • 24” x 30” embellished gicleé reproductions available at $1,200.00

The secluded area known as Edge Falls is locally famous.  Jay's interpretation is that of a band of Indians were scouting the area and were the first to behold the beauty below.  Jay had the privilege to tour and photograph the land several years ago for a fundraising event for the Cibolo Nature Center.  Today the land is not accessible to the public.
 
"Visiting this beautiful place years ago, I imagined this unique waterfall and surroundings were revered by the Native American people.”
  Jay Hester
 

Tonkawa Reprisal
Oil on canvas
24” x 36
$9,900.00

Gicleé Reproductions/ Signed and Numbered limited editions of 10
  • 24” x 36” gicleé reproductions available at $950.00
  • 24” x 36” embellished gicleé reproductions available at $1,250.00

After the 1840 Comanche raid at the Linnville, TX warehouses, the Indians adorned themselves and their horses in ribbons of calico and silk, as well as hats and other assorted clothing they confiscated.  Texas Rangers and local settlers formed a battle ready militia near Plum Creek to ambush the returning Comanche, recover the loot and punish them for their raid. Settlers also recruited members of the Tonkawa tribe to act as scouts and report the location of the Linnville Looters as they traveled northward.  The scouts were told to tie white strips of cloth to their arms or head to identify them as allies. The Comanche may have had no fiercer enemy than the Tonkawa.
 
"I resolved some of my interpretive matters with the story by having a Tonkawa scout observing the Comanche looters from a hiding place.  I had dreams about the position of the observer".  
Jay Hester

Frontier Code
Oil on canvas
20” x 30”
$6,900.00

Gicleé Reproductions/ Signed and Numbered limited editions of 10
  • 20” x 30” gicleé reproductions available at $900.00
  • 20” x 30” embellished gicleé reproductions available at $1,200.00

Alfred Giles, a recently arrived architect from England, along with three frontiersmen, were traveling north through the countryside in what is now Kendall County.  From their high ground location they saw six Indians approaching.  The savvy frontiersmen told Giles to ensure his gun was loaded, point it straight upward and to position the horses facing in the cardinal directions.  This was regarded as Indian sign language - "If the Indians wanted to fight, the men were ready, but they would not start anything".  The Comanche respected bravery and rode around the men in a circle before giving a loud whoop and galloping away toward Boerne.
 
“This acknowledged ‘sign language’ of rifles pointed upward and horses specifically positioned was a new element in my understanding of the development of settler/Native relationships. I believe telling that story will assist others in understanding the intricacies of settling the Texas frontier.”
Jay Hester
 

Palo Duro Refuge
Oil on canvas
24” x 40”
$11,000.00

Gicleé Reproductions/ Signed and Numbered limited editions of 10
  • 24” x 40” gicleé reproductions available at $1,000.00
  • 24” x 40” embellished gicleé reproductions available at $1,300.00

Many of the Plains Indians camped in the protection of Palo Duro Canyon, where a Kiowa shaman promised they would be safe.  However, after a time, they were trapped in their refuge by the United States Cavalry and largely with the efforts of the Tonkawa in 1874.
 
"I appreciate the beauty of this canyon in Texas, the second largest in the United States, and I always find winter landscapes appealing.”
Jay Hester
 

 

J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art is proud to partner with the Cibolo Nature Center and Ranch for their annual luncheon gala. We are very excited to announce that this year, J.R. Mooney will be displaying "The Healer", by Jay Hester in front of Dr. Herff's homestead in Boerne. A wonderful juxtaposition of eras.

Be sure to buy your tickets today for this wonderful nonprofit and land conservancy endeavor.


www.cibolo.org
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