Dallas Scenes by Florence McClung — 1940s
by Paula Bosse
by Paula Bosse
Florence McClung (1894-1992) — a painter, printmaker, and pastelist in the circle of Regionalist artists known as The Dallas Nine — lived in Dallas and often painted nearby rural scenes as well as more rugged Western landscapes. I haven’t seen many urban scenes by McClung, but there were two oil paintings that appeared in a one-woman show at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in the spring of 1945 which I’d love to find images of: “Triple Underpass” and “Big D,” the latter of which sounds very similar to the one seen above, “Dallas Cityscape,” from the collection of Mark and Geralyn Kever (whose impressive collection of Texas art can be seen in the Jan./Feb. issue of American Fine Art Magazine — jump to page 53 in the PDF to find the story, “Cream of the Crop”). (UPDATE: “Triple Underpass” has surfaced! More here.)
Here’s another urban scene, “Industrial Dallas,” with what looks like the Medical Arts Building in the background.
I always love to see artistic renderings of the Dallas skyline, and I really like these two city scenes which are so different from McClung’s usual subject matter.
Florence McClung (née White) was born in St. Louis in 1894. Her family moved to Dallas, and she eventually studied art under several of Dallas’ finest instructor-artists (including Frank Reaugh). After several years as a college art instructor in Waxahachie, she began to participate in numerous group shows, juried shows, and one-man shows, reaching the peak of her career in the 1930s and 1940s. She died in 1992 at the age of 97. Art-wise, that spans the years from Toulouse-Lautrec to Banksy!
I had a hard time finding photos of her, but I managed to find two, including her senior photo which appeared in the 1912 yearbook of Dallas High School (more commonly known today as Crozier Tech) (where, incidentally, she was in the Art Club with Allie Tennant who went on to become a noted sculptor, best known for her Tejas Warrior at the Hall of State in Fair Park).
Sources & Notes
The top painting has the title “Dallas Cityscape” and media mentions of it carry the date 1941. I couldn’t find a painting by McClung with that title (admittedly, my sources are limited!). Also, 1941 seems off because construction of the Mercantile Bank Building (seen in the painting) wasn’t completed until 1942. I wonder if it’s possible that this painting actually was the painting McClung titled “Big D” (which was most likely painted in 1944) and was included in her 1945 show at the DMFA? Might those planes have something to do with World War II? Because the Portal to Texas History has been so nice to scan them, McClung’s application for a show at the DMFA can be seen here, and her list of works to be shown is here.
“Industrial Dallas” is from a January, 2016 auction catalogue from David Dike Fine Art.
The Handbook of Texas entry for Florence Elliott White McClung can be found here.
A selection of works by Florence McClung from the Dallas Museum of Art can be found on the SMU Central University Libraries Digital Collections site, here.
UPDATE, Oct., 2018: “Triple Underpass,” from the same period as the two paintings above, has surfaced — more about it can be found in the post “‘Triple Underpass’ by Florence McClung — 1945,” here.
All images larger when clicked.
Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.