The Corral meets the third Tuesday each month at 7 PM online via Zoom for a one-hour history presentation.
Topics include local, Texas, and Western history.
Speakers are members, local historians, and university professors.
Visitors are welcome.
If you would like to visit and need the Zoom login information, please use the contact form to request it.
Corral annual membership dues of $20/single and $30/couple are based on the calendar year and include the annual dues payable to our parent organization, Westerners International. Pay your dues online or by mailing us a check. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and all contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.
The Fort Worth Westerners Corral was founded in 1965 and is the oldest of the eight active Corrals in Texas. Like the Westerners International organization, membership is open to anyone interested in Western history.
Fort Worth Westerners' Sheriff
(does what a president does)
Fort Worth Westerners' Representative
(works as the representative for contacts with other Corrals, Posses, and the Home Ranch.)
Fort Worth Westerners' Keeper of the Chips
(does what a treasurer does)
In 1936, Texas celebrated its centennial. After intense competition between the major cities in Texas at that time, primarily San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas, the north Texas city won the right to host the Texas Centennial Central Exposition. Dallas had been hosting the State Fair of Texas since at least 1885, and presented the most elaborate and extensive array of new construction and opportunities to present to the world what Texas was all about.
Included in these ambitious plans was a new Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Among the exhibitions to be presented at the centennial celebration would be an historical survey of American art. Borrowing from institutions and private collectors across the nation, this exhibition would be touted as one of the finest of its kind ever presented in the United States up to that point. Moreover, part of the art exhibitions would be an opportunity to show the world what art-making in Texas looked like in 1936.
Unfortunately, perhaps the most important figure in Texas art was conspicuously not invited to the party, neither in the survey of American art nor in the Texas section. This artist had one of the most distinguished exhibition records of any Texas artist before or since 1936, including the National Academy of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, and other public institutions, as well as two world's fairs. Moreover, despite having moved to Dallas in 1890; despite having brought the finest in American art to the State Fair of Texas for at least a decade so as to give the Fair art exhibition a strong foundation; despite having devoted his career to bringing art in all forms to Dallas, including exhibiting his own work, offering musical and theatrical performances, and establishing the very first public art gallery in Dallas; and despite having taught thousands of children in Dallas through art to be better observers of the world around them; the artist left off that invitation list was none other than Frank Reaugh.
Ironically, that same year Reaugh wrote a small pamphlet entitled simply, Biographical, in which he described how his art took a different trail from his contemporaries Charles M. Russell and Frederic Remington. Reaugh felt that during the Texas trail driving years he "was the only artist, it seems, who thought of [trail drives and Texas longhorns] as being a subject to paint." Calling longhorns, "Texas cattle," Reaugh probably painted—and photographed--the only images of true Texas longhorns, before they were cross-bred with European cattle. Furthermore, Reaugh's plein-air pastels of the landscape of the Southwest, usually done along the Red, Wichita, Brazos, and Concho rivers and on into New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado, and even Wyoming, show his interest in preserving the landscape of the American Southwest before it was overgrazed or plowed under:
"I like to be where the skies are unstained by dust and smoke, where the trees are untrimmed and where the wild flowers grow. I like the brilliant sunlight, and the far distance. I like the opalescent color of the plains. It is the beauty of the great Southwest as God has made it that I love to paint."
Inventor, teacher, artist, and arts promoter all describe the man who is truly Texas's "Leonardo." Moreover his paintings are unparalleled in American art. Appropriately, he is often called the "Dean of Texas Artists." Moreover, Reaugh may have had greater impact on the future of Texas art than any artist or teacher prior to World War II, and possibly even today. Frank Reaugh was a genius.
Most publications on Reaugh up to this point have focused more on his eccentricities ("ate corn meal mush for breakfast"; "slept on sawhorses") or on the sketching trips with students as some kind of bohemian precursor to the "Merry Pranksters" of 1960s infamy. Moreover, some authors on Reaugh had their own axes to grind attempting to have had him rub shoulders with Old Texas or Old West characters. Furthermore, much of that which has been written about Reaugh has been so much folderol about the authors themselves; rarely has Reaugh been allowed to speak for himself. Finally, there are those raconteurs about Reaugh who suffer mightily for him, or have attempted to absorb some of his spotlight as their own. Sadly, no publication on Reaugh that I am aware of has ever looked critically at his life and career, nor seriously for that matter. Unfortunately, Reaugh has become somewhat legendary, and in most cases, the legend was printed. However, while the facts support much of the legend, the facts are a far greater story. My monograph is an attempt to let Mr. Reaugh, and the truth about him, speak for itself.
Meet Michael R. Grauer
Michael Grauer is the McCasland Chair of Cowboy Culture/Curator of Cowboy Collections and Western Art at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Mr. Grauer holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in art history from the University of Kansas; the Master of Arts in art history from Southern Methodist University; and the Master of Arts in history from West Texas A&M University. He began his career at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and was curator of art and Western heritage at Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum for 31 years, and has been a museum curator for 35 years. He has curated over 150 exhibitions on Western art, culture, and history, authored over 70 publications, and appeared in ten documentaries in the US and in Germany. He taught art history and Western American Studies at West Texas A&M University from 1999 to 2017. CASETA gave him a Distinguished Service Award in 2009. He wrote the Dictionary of Texas Artists, 1800-1945 in 1999 and continues to revise it. He was the University of Kansas Kress Foundation Department of Art History's distinguished alumnus for 2012. He received CASETA's exhibition and publication award for his exhibition and catalogue, Branding with Brushstroke and Color: Texas Impressionism, 1885-1935. His 2016 book, Rounded Up In Glory: Frank Reaugh, Texas Renaissance Man, is considered the biography on Reaugh. In September 2021, his book, Making a Hand: The Art of H. D. Bugbee, received the Western Heritage Wrangler Award for Best Western Art Book for 2020. He was inducted into the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame at Dodge City, Kansas, as Cowboy Historian for 2021.