Herb Mears: Memoirs of a Mid-Century Master, a Fifty Year Retrospective

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From February 8 to March 21, Foltz Fine Art will be exhibiting Herb Mears: Memoirs of a Midcentury Master—A Fifty Year Retrospective.  Herb Mears (American, 1923-1999) is remembered as one of Houston’s most active and visible figures in the emerging art scene of the 1950s and 1960s. His story is one of drive and dedication, and his love of life, people, and simply being, can be seen and felt throughout his work. After serving in Europe during World War II, he returned to study with Fernand Leger in France from 1948-1950. At Atelier Leger, stylistic foundations were solidified as were his interests in figuration and architectural renderings. Originally from New York, Mears came to Houston in 1951 with fellow art student, David Adickes, that he met at the Atelier Leger. Together they opened a short-lived art school, and were among the first wave of postwar artists to carve their niche in the Houston art scene. Throughout his career, Mears taught at the Museum School of Art, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and was an intermittent adjunct at Rice University and the University of Houston. 

 

From the 1950s forward, Mears was prolific, showing his work at esteemed early Houston galleries, such as with Bute, DuBose, Wilhelm and Nolan-Rankin galleries. Like his contemporaries, Mears was a frequent exhibitor in the Houston Annuals, winning numerous awards, including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston Purchase Prize in 1959. Additionally, the artist showed works at the Delgado Museum in New Orleans and The University of Houston.  Herb Mears’ works can be found in many important corporate collections, including Humble Oil, Shell Oil, Mitchell Energy, Texas Instruments and Hines Interests. 

 

Almost twenty years after his passing, this retrospective exhibition takes a close look at the development of his work, displaying a wide breadth of works from the Estate, many which have not been publicly shown before, ranging from early works to some of his last. Amongst the works is an incredible grouping of late 1940’s works created during his time in Paris studying with Fernand Leger, the 1960’s figures and architecture that we relate to Mears, and also later fauvist-inspired cityscapes and landscapes.  

 

The exhibition will be on view February 8 – March 21, 2020, with an opening reception Saturday, February 8th from 6-8pm.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Austin, Texas, c. 1980

Herb Mears

Austin, Texas, c. 1980

oil on masonite

24 x 30 in (60.96 x 76.20 cm)

Blue Forest, 1990

Herb Mears

Blue Forest, 1990

oil on masonite

30 x 40 in (76.20 x 101.60 cm)

Far West, 1988

Herb Mears

Far West, 1988

oil on masonite

15.75 x 36 in (40 x 91.44 cm)

Greek Port, 1984

Herb Mears

Greek Port, 1984

oil on mill board

16 x 20 in (40.64 x 50.80 cm)

La Femme

Herb Mears

La Femme

oil on masonite

32 x 24 in (81.28 x 60.96 cm)

Man with Hat and Birds, c. 1965

Herb Mears

Man with Hat and Birds, c. 1965

oil on board

36 x 24 in (91.44 x 60.96 cm)

Pierce Elevated

Herb Mears

Pierce Elevated

mixed media on paper

8.75 x 11.50 in (22.22 x 29.21 cm)

Red Mesa, 1988

Herb Mears

Red Mesa, 1988

oil on masonite

10.50 x 36 in (26.67 x 91.44 cm)

Siena Cathedral, c. 1985

Herb Mears

Siena Cathedral, c. 1985

oil on board

48 x 36 in (121.92 x 91.44 cm)

The Gymnasts, 1949

Herb Mears

The Gymnasts, 1949

lithograph

9 x 6.75 in (22.86 x 17.14 cm)

The Long Road West, 1990

Herb Mears

The Long Road West, 1990

oil on masonite

30.50 x 40 in (77.47 x 101.60 cm)

Twilight Over Town Square

Herb Mears

Twilight Over Town Square

oil on masonite

36 x 48 in (91.44 x 121.92 cm)

Untitled , c. 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled , c. 1949

graphite on paper

13 x 10 in (33.02 x 25.40 cm)

Untitled , c. 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled , c. 1949

gouache on paper

5.50 x 7.75 in (13.97 x 19.68 cm)

Untitled (Figure), 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled (Figure), 1949

graphite on paper

12.50 x 9.50 in (31.75 x 24.13 cm)

Untitled (Seated Figure), c. 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled (Seated Figure), c. 1949

graphite on paper

7.50 x 5 in (19.05 x 12.70 cm)

Untitled Figure, 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled Figure, 1949

graphite on paper

11 x 8.50 in (27.94 x 21.59 cm)

Venice, 1997

Herb Mears

Venice, 1997

oil on masonite

16 x 21 in (40.64 x 53.34 cm)

Bathers, 1949

Herb Mears

Bathers, 1949

graphite on paper

10 x 8 in (25.40 x 20.32 cm)

Blue Hills

Herb Mears

Blue Hills

oil on masonite

30 x 24 in (76.20 x 60.96 cm)

Figures with Umbrella, 1986

Herb Mears

Figures with Umbrella, 1986

oil on masonite

14.50 x 13.50 in (36.83 x 34.29 cm)

Headdress and Dog

Herb Mears

Headdress and Dog

oil on masonite

46 x 28 in (116.84 x 71.12 cm)

Man Listening

Herb Mears

Man Listening

oil on masonite

8 x 10 in (20.32 x 25.40 cm)

Night Reflections , 1997

Herb Mears

Night Reflections , 1997

oil on board

10 x 16 in (25.40 x 40.64 cm)

Pierce Elevated Blue

Herb Mears

Pierce Elevated Blue

mixed media on paper

10 x 14 in (25.40 x 35.56 cm)

Rio Grande  , 1989

Herb Mears

Rio Grande , 1989

oil on canvas

48 x 48 in (121.92 x 121.92 cm)

South of Alpine, 1988

Herb Mears

South of Alpine, 1988

oil on masonite

20 x 24 in (50.80 x 60.96 cm)

The Gymnasts, 1949

Herb Mears

The Gymnasts, 1949

graphite on paper

13.25 x 10 in (33.66 x 25.40 cm)

The Mission, c. 1980

Herb Mears

The Mission, c. 1980

oil on board

30 x 48 in (76.20 x 121.92 cm)

Two Figures Unmasked, c. 1960

Herb Mears

Two Figures Unmasked, c. 1960

oil on canvas

60 x 36 in (152.40 x 91.44 cm)

Untitled , c. 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled , c. 1949

gouache on paper

7.25 x 6.25 in (18.42 x 15.88 cm)

Untitled , 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled , 1949

gouache and graphite on paper

5.25 x 7.50 in (13.34 x 19.05 cm)

Untitled (Figure), 1948

Herb Mears

Untitled (Figure), 1948

graphite on paper

12.50 x 9.50 in (31.75 x 24.13 cm)

Untitled (Still Life with Bottle), c. 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled (Still Life with Bottle), c. 1949

gouache on paper

3.75 x 7.25 in (9.52 x 18.42 cm)

Untitled Figure, 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled Figure, 1949

lithograph

9 x 7 in (22.86 x 17.78 cm)

Westward Ho (The Roadster), 1987

Herb Mears

Westward Ho (The Roadster), 1987

oil on board

14 x 48 in (35.56 x 121.92 cm)

Bay Bridge

Herb Mears

Bay Bridge

oil on board

24 x 48 in (60.96 x 121.92 cm)

Canyon Lake #6, 1985

Herb Mears

Canyon Lake #6, 1985

oil on masonite

36 x 48 in (91.44 x 121.92 cm)

Four Figures

Herb Mears

Four Figures

oil on masonite

10 x 8 in (25.40 x 20.32 cm)

Historic Galveston

Herb Mears

Historic Galveston

oil on board

24 x 30 in (60.96 x 76.20 cm)

Man with Bird Cage

Herb Mears

Man with Bird Cage

oil on canvas

54 x 42 in (137.16 x 106.68 cm)

Orange Steeple

Herb Mears

Orange Steeple

oil on masonite

48 x 36 in (121.92 x 91.44 cm)

Promenade, c. 1965

Herb Mears

Promenade, c. 1965

oil on board

24 x 36 in (60.96 x 91.44 cm)

Road to Mesa, 1988

Herb Mears

Road to Mesa, 1988

oil on masonite

14 x 14 in (35.56 x 35.56 cm)

Still Life With Red Hat On Chair, c. 1965

Herb Mears

Still Life With Red Hat On Chair, c. 1965

oil on masonite

18 x 47.50 in (45.72 x 120.65 cm)

The Humble Building

Herb Mears

The Humble Building

oil on masonite

24 x 30 in (60.96 x 76.20 cm)

Three Guys, c. 1990

Herb Mears

Three Guys, c. 1990

oil on masonite

20 x 24 in (50.80 x 60.96 cm)

Untitled , c. 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled , c. 1949

graphite on paper

12.50 x 10.25 in (31.75 x 26.04 cm)

Untitled , c. 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled , c. 1949

gouache on paper

8.75 x 5.25 in (22.22 x 13.34 cm)

Untitled (Cubist Figure), c. 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled (Cubist Figure), c. 1949

graphite on paper

10.25 x 7 in (26.04 x 17.78 cm)

Untitled (Reclining Figure), 1950

Herb Mears

Untitled (Reclining Figure), 1950

graphite on paper

12.75 x 9.75 in (32.38 x 24.76 cm)

Untitled (Still Life with Guitar), c. 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled (Still Life with Guitar), c. 1949

gouache and graphite on paper

4.25 x 7.75 in (10.80 x 19.68 cm)

Untitled Figures, 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled Figures, 1949

lithograph

9 x 6.75 in (22.86 x 17.14 cm)

Woman with Birds at St. Mark's Square, c. 1985

Herb Mears

Woman with Birds at St. Mark's Square, c. 1985

oil on masonite

14 x 22 in (35.56 x 55.88 cm)

Beautiful Valley, c. 1988

Herb Mears

Beautiful Valley, c. 1988

oil on masonite

30 x 48 in (76.20 x 121.92 cm)

Dancers

Herb Mears

Dancers

oil on masonite

30 x 40 in (76.20 x 101.60 cm)

Golden Port

Herb Mears

Golden Port

oil on masonite

40 x 30 in (101.60 x 76.20 cm)

Inviting Sunset, c. 1988

Herb Mears

Inviting Sunset, c. 1988

oil on masonite

16 x 30 in (40.64 x 76.20 cm)

Man with Boat

Herb Mears

Man with Boat

mixed media on paper

8.50 x 11 in (21.59 x 27.94 cm)

Paris Cafe

Herb Mears

Paris Cafe

oil on board

8 x 8 in (20.32 x 20.32 cm)

Public School 108, Brooklyn, New York, c. 1965

Herb Mears

Public School 108, Brooklyn, New York, c. 1965

oil on masonite

24 x 30 in (60.96 x 76.20 cm)

Rose Port

Herb Mears

Rose Port

oil on masonite

36 x 48 in (91.44 x 121.92 cm)

The Chief, c. 1965

Herb Mears

The Chief, c. 1965

oil on masonite

24 x 18 in (60.96 x 45.72 cm)

The Jockeys

Herb Mears

The Jockeys

drawing on paper

8.50 x 11.75 in (21.59 x 29.84 cm)

Three Revelers, 1996

Herb Mears

Three Revelers, 1996

oil on board

14 x 24 in (35.56 x 60.96 cm)

Untitled , c. 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled , c. 1949

graphite on paper

13.50 x 10.50 in (34.29 x 26.67 cm)

Untitled , c. 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled , c. 1949

gouache and graphite on paper

7.50 x 4 in (19.05 x 10.16 cm)

Untitled (Figure), 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled (Figure), 1949

lithograph

9 x 6.75 in (22.86 x 17.14 cm)

Untitled (Seated Figure), c. 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled (Seated Figure), c. 1949

graphite on paper

9.25 x 6.75 in (23.50 x 17.14 cm)

Untitled (Three Men), 1949

Herb Mears

Untitled (Three Men), 1949

lithograph

9 x 5.25 in (22.86 x 13.34 cm)

Valley, c. 1988

Herb Mears

Valley, c. 1988

oil on masonite

36 x 48 in (91.44 x 121.92 cm)