Herb Mears

Artwork

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Herb Mears
HERBERT RICHARD MEARS (1923–1999) Born in New York City, Herb Mears was interested in art from a young age. He studied under Fernand Leger in Paris and went on to paint and study in various studios in France and Italy before his arrival in Houston in 1951. With colleague David Adickes, whom he had met in Paris, Mears decided to open an art school. Their Studio of Contemporary Arts finally settled in an old building on Main Street with Mears and Adickes hoping to give classes to potential students. However, money was tight and Mears found himself as a draftsman for Houston Lighting and Power Company, a job he excelled at and enjoyed. Later, Mears was involved in the Contemporary Arts Association, frequently making trips to ensure security in addition to enjoying the art scene the Association provided. From the CAA to the Art League of Houston and the Museum of Fine Arts, Mears began to gain recognition. An abstract, or non-objective piece as he called it, won a prize at a competition held by the Museum of Fine Arts, earning him a teaching position at the Museum School. Mears also taught at the Contemporary Arts Museum, University of Houston, and Rice University. Selected Biographical and Career Highlights 1923 Born in New York, New York 1948–1950 Atelier Leger, Paris, France 1950 Studio Hinna, Rome, Italy 1951 Moved to Houston, Texas Employed, Houston Lighting and Power Co., Houston, Texas 1959 Purchase Prize, Annual Exhibition of Work by Houston Artists, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas Instructor, Museum School, Contemporary Arts Museum, University of Houston, Rice University, Houston, Texas Selected Prizes, Awards Houston Annual: Purchase Prize 1955 (December), 1960; Cash Prize 1953; Honorable Mention 1953, 1958 1952 Honorable Mention, The Magician and the Artist, oil 1953 Purchase Honorable Mention and Cash Prize, Italian Caprice, gouache 1955 (December) Purchase Prize, Still Life, oil 1958 Honorable Mention, Elements of Flight, oil 1960 Purchase Prize, Construction, acrylic polymer Texas Watercolor Society: Materials Prize 1952 1952 Materials Prize, Don Quixote Mounted, watercolor Selected Exhibitions 1951 Houston Art League Fair, rented booth with David Adickes, Shamrock Hilton, Houston, Texas 1951 13th Annual Exhibition of Texas Painting and Sculpture 1951-1952, circulated: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Witte Museum, San Antonio, Texas 1952 27th Annual Exhibition of Work by Houston Artists, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas (honorable mention) 1952 Texas Watercolor Society 3rd Annual Exhibition, Witte Museum, San Antonio, Texas; Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Texas (materials prize) 1953 28th Annual Exhibition of Work by Houston Artists, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas (honorable mention for purchase prize) 19554 29th Annual Exhibition of Work by Houston Artists, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas 1955 17th Annual Exhibition of Texas Painting and Sculpture 1955-1956, circulated: Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Fort Worth Art Center, Fort Worth; Witte Museum, San Antonio; Texas Fine Arts Association, Austin, Texas 1955 (December) 31st Annual Exhibition of Houston Artists, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas (purchase prize) 1955–56 D. D. Feldman Collection of Contemporary Texas Art: An Exhibit of 100 Paintings, traveled; 1956 Feb at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas (Conversation) catalogue 1958 D. D. Feldman Competitive Award Exhibit: The Contemporary Work of 88 Texas Artists, traveled; 1958 Jul–Aug at McNay Museum, San Antonio, Texas (Interior) checklist 1956 Gulf-Caribbean Art Exhibition, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, traveled to: Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg; Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado (catalogue) 1956 6th Southwestern Exhibition of Prints and Drawings, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas, traveled to: Centenary College, Shreveport, Louisiana; Elisabet Ney Museum, Austin, Texas; University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; Texas Tech College Museum, Lubbock; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; University of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Oklahoma A&M College, Stillwater 1957 7th Annual Houston Post Easter Art Exhibit, Houston Art League Building, Houston, Texas 1957 32nd Annual Houston Artists Exhibition, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas 1958 33thAnnual Houston Artists Exhibition, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas (honorable mention) 1958 Texas Oil ’58, A Salute to the Oil Industry of the State by Texas Painters, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, traveled to: Bank of the Southwest, Houston; Dallas Public Library, Dallas; Republic National Bank of Dallas, Texas (catalogue) 1959 34th Annual Houston Artists Exhibition, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas 1959 Made in Texas by Texans, Dallas Museum of Contemporary Art, Sheraton-Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas (catalogue) 1960 35th Annual Houston Artists Exhibition, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas (purchase prize) 1961 23rd Annual Texas Painting and Sculpture Exhibition 1961-1962, circulated: Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Witte Museum, San Antonio; Beaumont Art Museum, Beaumont; Museum, Texas Tech, Lubbock, Texas 1962 The Southwest: Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas 1962-63 Museum School Faculty Exhibition, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas 1963 25th Annual Texas Painting and Sculpture Exhibition 1963-1964, circulated: Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Centennial Art Museum, Corpus Christi; Beaumont Art Museum, Beaumont; El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso; Witte Museum, San Antonio; University of Texas at Austin, Texas 1968 10th Annual Invitational Exhibit, Nicholson Memorial Library, Junior Service League of Longview, Texas 1971–72 Texas Painting and Sculpture: The 20th Century, Pollack Galleries, Owen Arts Center, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, traveled to: Witte Confluence Museum, HemisFair Plaza, San Antonio; University Art Museum, University of Texas at Austin; Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth; The Museum, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas (catalogue) Delgado Museum, New Orleans, Louisiana James Bute Gallery, Houston, Texas DuBose Gallery, Houston, Texas Nolan-Rankin Gallery, Houston, Texas Wilhelm Gallery, New York, New York 2003 Herbert Mears—A Creative Journey, Beeville Art Museum, Beeville, Texas 2004 A Selection of Art Made in Houston 1950-1965, Brazos Projects, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Texas 2006 Houston Art in Houston Collections: Works from 1900 to 1965, Heritage Society Museum, Houston, Texas 2007-08 Urban Texas: Changing Images of an Evolving State, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas 2008 Founders of Houston Art: Thirty Artists Who Led the Way, William Reaves Fine Art, Houston, Texas 2009 A Texas Sampler: Vintage Paintings by Thirty Texas Artists, William Reaves Fine Art, Houston, Texas 2009 Back to the Future: Elements of “Modern” in Mid-Century Texas Art, William Reaves Fine Art, Houston, Texas 2009-10 Texas Art Seen, Grace Museum, Abilene, Texas 2010 Third Anniversary Show: A Tribute to Houston Artists, William Reaves Fine Art, Houston, Texas 2010 Three Artists Remembered: Bill Condon, Paul Maxwell, Herb Mears, William Reaves Fine Art, Houston, Texas 2011 Lone Star Modernism: A Celebration of Mid-Century Texas Art, William Reaves Fine Art, Houston, Texas 2012 A Survey of Texas Modernists, William Reaves Fine Art, Houston, Texas 2013 Restless Heart: The Collectors’ Quest to Find Texas in Art, San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, San Angelo, Texas 2013 Rhythms of Modernism, William Reaves Fine Art, Houston, Texas 2014 Houston Founders at City Hall Art Exhibition, City Hall, Houston, Texas 2014 A New Visual Vocabulary: Developments in Texas Modernism 1935-1965, One Allen Center, Lobby Gallery, Houston, Texas 2015 Bayou City Chic: Progressive Streams of Modern Art in Houston, Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, Texas (catalogue) 2015 Texas Modernists: The Abstract Impulse, Grace Museum, Abilene, Texas (catalogue) 2016 This WAS Contemporary Art: Fine and Decorative Arts in Houston 1945-1965, Heritage Society Museum, Houston, Texas (catalogue) 2017 Celebrating Houston’s Founding Modernists, William Reaves | Sarah Foltz Fine Art, Houston, Texas 2019 Modernist Visions of the Southwest, Foltz Fine Art, Houston, Texas Selected Public Collections Hines Interests, Houston, Texas Humble Oil, Houston, Texas Mitchell Energy, Dallas, Texas Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas Shell Oil, Houston, Texas Texas Instruments, Dallas, Texas Selected Sources Edwards, Katie Robinson. Midcentury Modern Art in Texas. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2014. Reynolds, Sarah C. Houston Reflections: Art in the City, 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Houston: Rice University Press, 2008. http://cnx.org/content/col10526/latest. Dallas Museum of Art. Portal to Texas History: http://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/partners/DMA/browse. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Exhibition history online: http://prv.mfah.org/archives/search.asp?par1=1&par2=1&par3=1&par4=1&par5=1&par6=1&par7.
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