“Dallas in Winter” by Guy Wiggins — ca. 1942

by Paula Bosse

wiggins_dallas-in-winter_c1942_dma“Dallas in Winter” by Guy Carleton Wiggins (Dallas Museum of Art)

by Paula Bosse

A nostalgic look back at a snowy Dallas scene from the 1940s by Guy Wiggins (1893-1962), an artist most remembered for his snow scenes of New York City. Wiggins was apparently quite fond of Dallas and was a frequent visitor, beginning in the 1920s. He had countless gallery shows here over the years, and while in town he’d often present lectures and “master classes” to arts groups and women’s groups. According to articles in local newspapers, Wiggins painted views of the Dallas skyline several times, paintings which no doubt found their way into private collections and are probably still hanging on the walls of local art patrons. In 1952, his daughter and her family moved here, giving Wiggins yet another reason to visit.

The wonderful snow scene above is in the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art; this is the DMA’s description of the painting:

A rare snowstorm in Dallas captured the eye of Guy Carleton Wiggins, who recorded this scene from the downtown vantage point of Live Oak and Pearl streets, showing the skyline’s distinctive historic landmark of the red statue of Pegasus on the Magnolia building.

Although born and raised in the East, where he was affiliated with the artists’ colony in Old Lyme, Connecticut, Wiggins traveled widely throughout the United States during his career. He became known for urban winter scenes such as this one.

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The painting “Dallas in Winter”  by Guy Carleton Wiggins is from the Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, Dallas Museum of Art; it was a bequest of Patsy Lacy Griffith. More information on the painting can be found on the DMA’s website, here.

(Patsy Lacy Griffith was the daughter of oil millionaire Rogers Lacy, who was this close to building the incredible Frank Lloyd Wright-designed hotel downtown. I wrote about it in a previous post, here.)

More on the career of Guy Wiggins, from Wikipedia, here, and from a 2011 New York Times profile of the Wiggins family of painters, here.

Because he visited so often and had many friends here (and because he apparently painted very quickly), Wiggins’ paintings were well represented in private collections in Dallas. (One of his earliest patrons was Miss Ela Hockaday, of the Hockaday School for Girls, who loaned one of her paintings for an exhibit at the Dallas Public Library in 1930.) Among works depicting views of the city were oil studies with the titles “Morning Over Dallas,” “The Akard Canyon,” “Dallas: Morning From Cliff Towers,” and “Dallas Nocturne,” all of which were probably still damp when first shown, as The Dallas Morning News reported that they had been painted “little more than a week ago” before they went on display at the Ed Spillars gallery on Fairmount at the end of December, 1948 (DMN, Dec. 22, 1948). I’d love to see these paintings.

See a collection of clippings regarding Wiggins’ Dallas visits here.

Want “Dallas in Winter” hanging on your walls? Buy the poster from the DMA Shop here. Look at it longingly when it’s 157 degrees in August.

Click picture for larger image.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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