Milestones in 2014

December 31, 2014

Dear Friends,

Hummingbirds w: Cholla copy

Hummingbirds and Cholla, 48 x 50″, oil on canvas was featured at the 40th Anniversary Show at the William Campbell Contemporary Art Gallery. Contact the gallery for more information.

As the year 2014 draws to a close, it seems appropriate to reflect upon the past year and upon the changes and good things it brought. In many ways, it was a milestone year marked by several notable anniversaries.

My galleries in Fort Worth and Dallas, William Campbell Contemporary Art and Conduit Gallery, respectively celebrated their 40th year and 30th year – milestones for both – and a testament to their endurance and commitment to the arts. The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, popularly known as the MAC, celebrated its 20th anniversary.

The year was also marked by the disbursement of two important Dallas collections of contemporary Texas Art – the expansive corporate Belo Collection and the legendary private collection of Sonny Burt and Bob Butler.

Billy Hassell's Egypt on the Brazos, David Bates' The Blue Heron, and Billy Hassell's Divination at Heritage Auctions

Billy Hassell’s Egypt on the Brazos, David Bates’ The Blue Heron, and Billy Hassell’s Divination at Heritage Auctions

The Belo Collection, originally curated by art consultant and folk art scholar, Murray Smither, and then for over 20 years under the stewardship of Judith Segura, represented an excellent cross section of contemporary and historic Texas art.

The private collection of the late Sonny Burt and Bob Butler, beloved supporters of the local Dallas art scene and champions to many struggling and unknown young artists, ranged from well-known blue chip names to unknown local artists.

The Belo Collection went to auction in October setting records for many of the artists represented, myself included, and the Collection of Sonny Burt and Bob Butler was placed on view and sold through Talley Dunn Gallery around the same time. I am proud to have had works in both collections.

Harry Goes Hunting, pencil drawing,

It was a milestone year for myself as well.

After 25 good years with Meredith Long and Company in Houston, I left the gallery on amicable terms and began a new partnership with William Reaves Fine Art in Houston and we are already off to an excellent start.

An introductory show in October at William Reaves Fine Art included some early works, like the pencil drawing on the right, Harry Goes Hunting, as well as more recent works.

In addition to the show at the Reaves Gallery, I exhibited at the Tyler Museum of Art in Tyler, Texas, the Davis Gallery in Austin, Conduit Gallery in Dallas and the Botanic Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) in Fort Worth. It was a busy year.

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Martin and Heather Kohout, Madroño Ranch

While mindful of all the good things that have come to pass, I would like to take this opportunity to remember several good friends and acquaintances that passed away this year.

Heather Kohout, who, with her husband Martin, co-founded the Madroño Ranch Residency program in Medina, Texas, passed away in October. I got to know Heather while working on a large scale mural project that she and her husband commissioned me to do at the ranch. I feel grateful and blessed to have had the opportunity to know this amazing and remarkable spirit and to be part of the legacy she left behind.

This year also saw the passing of well known and respected Dallas artists, Tracy Hicks, a local artist devoted to natural history and the environment, and James Wattral, beloved teacher of ceramics and clay artist.

I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and a productive and profitable New Year!

Billy Hassell