Friday, July 7, 2017

Robert Wood in West Texas now at J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art

West Texas Landscape by Robert Wood

     The gentle mountains and sparse landscape of west Texas make excellent subject matter for works of art. The western portion of the state is full of stark colors, bold skies and a certain emptiness that is appealing to the eye. The prolific artist Robert Wood captured this unique landscape in many of his works. In particular, West Texas Landscape, believed to be painted sometime in the 1950’s, is a stunning example of the artist’s work.  The color palette and vast scenery exemplify Wood’s subject matter and style from that period of his career.
     The most mass produced artists in the United States, Robert Wood traveled all over the country. Originally from England, Wood came to the U.S. after time in the service and he traveled extensively by rail. Wood lived in Oregon, Ohio and Florida, before settling in San Antonio from the late 1920’s to 1940. In San Antonio, he gained a national reputation for his strong dramatic landscape paintings.  Some of that prestige came from his studies with Jose Arpa, a prominent Texas artist.  Wood also gave art lessons, and one of his students was Porfirio Salinas. Like Texas painters Robert Onderdonk (1853-1917) and his son Julian (1882-1922), Robert Wood concentrated for a time on the distinctive Texas landscape. He developed a reputation for his bluebonnet scenes and incorporated stone barns and rough wood farmhouses into his compositions that added authenticity and romance.

     While still living in Texas, he took extensive sketching trips west all the way to California. It is evident that his 1930's California and Texas works started to show an awareness of the California Plein-Air movement. These more mature works are distinguished by a fine sense of detail reminiscent of late-19th-century American landscape painters. Wood's reputation with collectors grew nationally. He painted the Colorado Rockies in the 1930s and 1940s. By the early 1960s, the Tetons and the California coast made up a significant percentage of his work. He would continue to paint popular Texas landscapes but his style changed. Works from this period are broadly painted with a more chromatic palette. Over the years Wood continued to develop his style; his subject matter remained rural landscapes.   
     Wood's commercial success is considerable when one realizes that he devoted little to no effort to promoting his work or gaining acclaim among the art community.  He was included in many shows, and had thousands of reproductions made of his work. At the age of eighty, the American Express Company commissioned him to paint a series of six works to be reproduced as limited edition serigraphs for their Cardholders. Instead of fame, Wood believed in the natural appeal and time enduring quality which results from serious dedication to one's craft. His beliefs proved to be true. West Texas Landscape is currently at J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art to view or purchase.
by: Gina Martinez

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