by Paula Bosse
I am a huge fan of the paintings and prints by the Dallas Nine group, and Alexandre Hogue — one of the members of the group — has always been one of my favorite artists. I stumbled across this early, uncharacteristic work by him last night while looking for something else. I was browsing though a digital bookplate collection (…as one does…), and when I saw the thumbnail image of this western scene, I wondered who had drawn it. The citation had no artist attribution and noted merely that it was produced for the University Club of Dallas. As I have a background in rare books and Texas art, I thought I might know the artist, so I checked the signature. I never expected this drawing to have been done by Alexandre Hogue.
The bookplate was executed by Hogue for the University Club, a group whose well-heeled and literate members met in a tony downtown penthouse. It was done in 1927 when Hogue was working as an art instructor at the Dallas YWCA; his own work had begun to attract positive critical attention, but he had yet to make a big splash. I’ve checked various sources, but I don’t see mention anywhere of Hogue doing this sort of thing. Was he commissioned? Did he do it on spec, hoping to possibly network with influential members and perhaps improve his chances of showing his work there? Whatever his reason, things seem to have paid off, because he was showing his art at the club and participating in group shows there by 1928.
So here it is, art-lovers, a heretofore mostly (if not totally) unknown piece of Alexandre Hogue-iana from 1927 — a little piece of anonymous ephemera that has been stashed away for years in a bookplate collection in Illinois.
This bookplate is from the John Starr Stewart Ex Libris Collection, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It can be seen here.
If you are unfamiliar with Alexandre Hogue’s work, see here for a few examples of his work as well as those of his fellow Dallas Nine artists.
Also, there is a show featuring Hogue’s works currently on at the Dallas Museum of Art. For details see here.
And a short, informative video, presented by Susan Kalil, author of Alexandre Hogue: An American Visionary, can be viewed here.
Another uncharacteristic example of Hogue’s work, is the incredible “Calligraphic Tornado” (1970), which I’ve posted here.
Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.