Robert C. Rogan (American, 1922-2020)
Robert Courtney Rogan was born Sept. 26, 1922, to Courtney Crittenden Rogan and Edith McNown Rogan of Topeka, Kansas. After childhood in Topeka, Rogan served in the U.S. Army during World War II. As a sergeant in a command company's intelligence section, he was assigned to reconnaissance missions along the rapidly changing front lines, as Patton's Third Army moved across Germany in 1945. Upon Germany's surrender, his unit was immediately dispatched to the Philippines (via the Panama Canal), where it participated in the final weeks of military action against Japan. During the Korean War, Rogan was again called to duty, although remaining within the U.S.
Following World War II, he received his Bachelor of Art degree from Washburn University in 1948 and followed that with a Masters of Fine Art degree from the University of Iowa in 1950. It was during his time at the University of Iowa that he met and married Anna Ladd, and their marriage lasted 62 years, until her death in 2011.
Rogan started his academic career as an instructor at Fort Dodge Junior College in Iowa in 1950. His career path led him to the following institutions: Instructor at the University of Nebraska, Omaha from 1951 – 1954, Professor of Art at Central Missouri State University from 1954 – 1959, Instructor at the University of Kansas in Lawrence from 1959 - 1961. After teaching art at several colleges in the Midwest, Robert obtained a doctorate in education from the University of Kansas. He moved his family to Beaumont in 1961 and joined the faculty at Lamar University.
Rogan served as a professor of fine art at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas for almost thirty years, from 1961 until 1990. For nineteen years, he served as the chairman of the Art Department at Lamar, and was instrumental in shifting the department’s commercial focus to one of fine art. Rogan assisted in the incorporation of figure drawing courses into the curriculum, which was viewed as an achievement in elevating the program’s art education to more classical modes of artistic training. Outside of Lamar University, he worked to promote art education in Southeast Texas, with Beaumont artist Lorene David and several other artists and teachers.
After arriving in Texas in 1961, Rogan was inspired by the natural and industrial landscape of Southeast Texas with its ports, refineries, and rice farms along the Gulf Coast. Throughout his oeuvre, Rogan repeatedly revisited subjects characteristic of the region and his everyday surroundings, working primarily in abstraction with a bright, bold color palette. Over his almost forty-year career as an artist, he experimented with many different styles and media. Beginning as a Regionalist artist, Rogan later moved into abstraction with his own version of Abstract Expressionist painting, blended with “Texas Cubism” which was popular at mid-century. The abstract paintings from his Texas period are recognizable as distinctively “Rogan”. His high caliber and consistent engagement with abstraction, plus the clear influence of Southeast Texas, makes his work a valuable addition to the development of Post-War Modern art in Texas. His decidedly modernist paintings evolved through different creative styles over the years, but generally displayed vivid colors on frameworks of loosely geometrical black lines. His work is prominently noted in the book "Midcentury Modern Art in Texas" (2014) by Dr. Katie Edwards.
Rogan retired from his teaching position at Lamar University in 1990, and continued to reside in Beaumont, Texas until his passing on October 7, 2020, at the age of 98.
Selected Biographical and Career Highlights
1922 Born in Topeka, Kansas
1948 B.A., Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas
1950 M.F.A., University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
1950 Instructor, Fort Dodge Junior College, Fort Dodge, Iowa
1951-1954 Instructor, University of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska
1954-1959 Professor of Art, Central Missouri State University, Warrenburg, Missouri
1959-1961 Instructor, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
1961-1990 Professor of Art; Head of Art Department, Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas
1964 PhD, in Education, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
1990 Retired from teaching, Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas
2020 Died in Beaumont, Texas, at age 98
1950 University of Iowa
1954 The Midwest Exhibition: The Third Biennial Exhibition of Paintings, Sculpture and Graphic Arts
1959-61 University of Kansas, Various Group Exhibitions
1963 The Second Annual Coastal Art Exhibit
1964-48 The Beaumont Art Museum Annual Exhibition
1965 The Texas Fine Arts Association Citation Exhibition
1966-67 The Texas Fine Arts Association Circuit Exhibition
1968 Museum Directors Prize
1971 The Beaumont Art Museum Annual Exhibition
1979 Neches River Festival Exhibition, Lamar Faculty Artists, Beaumont, TX
2009 Back to the Future: Elements of “Modern” in Mid-Century Texas Art, William Reaves Fine Art, Houston, TX
2011 Breakthrough: 65 Years of Texas Abstraction, William Reaves Fine Art, Houston, TX
2011 Southeast Texas Art: Cross-Currents and Influences, 1925-1965, Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont, TX.
2011 Lone Star Modernism: A Celebration of Mid-Century Texas Art, William Reaves Fine Art, Houston, TX
2012 A Survey of Texas Modernists, William Reaves Fine Art, Houston, TX
2013 Rhythms of Modernism, William Reaves Fine Art, Houston, TX
2016 A Life in Art: Robert Rogan, William Reaves | Sarah Foltz Fine Art, Houston, TX
2021 Summer Salon: Robert Rogan Remembered, Foltz Fine Art, Houston, TX
Art Museum of South East Texas, Beaumont, TX
Dishman Art Museum, Lamar University, Beaumont, TX