Everett Spruce

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EVERETT SPRUCE (Am. 1908-2002)

Born near Conway, Arkansas, and a graduate of Mulberry (Arkansas) High School, Spruce traveled to Dallas at age eighteen to study art. He attended the Dallas Art Institute (1926 - 1929) on a scholarship provided by the proprietors, Olin and Kathryne Hail Travis, to whom he had shown his drawings in Arkansas. At the institute he received instruction from Olin Travis and Thomas M. Stell, Jr. Beginning in 1931, Spruce painted at night while working days as a gallery assistant at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. He read widely in most aspects of art history, taught in the museum art school, and conducted gallery tours. In 1935 he was promoted to registrar and assistant to the director.

In 1940 Spruce accepted the position of instructor in life drawing and creative design in the University of Texas, Austin, where he became a professor of art and taught until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1974, having been chairman of the art department in 1949 - 1950. In 1958 the University of Texas Press included reproductions of eight of his paintings in the first portfolio of its Blaffer Series on Southwestern Art. The Ford Foundation awarded spruce a grant in 1959 for creative and experimental study. He frequently found his subject matter in the Texas Gulf Coast, the Texas Hill Country, the Big Bend area, and West Texas. His wife was Alice Kramer. Zigrosser called spruce “a painter of considerable power and originality.

Source: Texas Painters, Sculptors & Graphic Artists by John and Deborah Powers

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