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University of Texas at Austin

Frank Reaugh:

An Inventory of His Art Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Reaugh, Frank, 1860-1945
Title: Frank Reaugh Art Collection
Dates: 1880-1937 (bulk undated)
Extent: 217 artworks
Abstract: The Frank Reaugh Art Collection, 1880-1937 (bulk undated), consists of 217 works of art by Reaugh, primarily pastel drawings of landscapes and cattle in the American Southwest. The works span the duration of his career from his early field sketches and portraits to his later large-scale works. Also included are ink and graphite drawings, a watercolor, and oil paintings; his original framing materials; and two portraits of Reaugh.
Call Number: Art Collection AR-00217
Language: English
Note: The project to digitize and catalog the Frank Reaugh Art Collection was made possible with support from IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) and TSLAC (Texas State Library and Archives Commission).
Access: Open for research. Please note that a minimum of 24 hours notice is required to pull art materials to the Ransom Center's Reading and Viewing Room. Some materials may be restricted from viewing. To make an appointment or to reserve art materials, please contact the Center's staff at Digital images from this collection are available on the Harry Ransom Center Digital Collections website.

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Gift to The University of Texas at Austin, 1937
Processed by: Megan Dirickson, 2013

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Charles Franklin Reaugh, more commonly known as Frank Reaugh, was born December 29, 1860, near Jacksonville, Illinois, to George Washington Reaugh and Clarinda Morton Spilman. At the age of 15, Reaugh and his family moved by covered wagon to Terrell, Texas, thirty miles east of Dallas, where they established a small farm. With an early interest in drawing and encouragement from his mother, Reaugh was inspired to draw the open Texas landscape and the many motifs it had to offer. Influenced by black and white engravings and reproductions of works by the European masters, which he saw in books and magazines, Reaugh created many of his early sketches in monochrome. His focus on cattle resulted from first-hand observations of long-horned steers grazing in pastures and the family’s two oxen, Tom and Jerry. Reaugh further broadened his knowledge and sharpened his drawing skills of these subjects by studying large animal anatomy books.
In the early 1880s, Reaugh met cattlemen and “freegrassers”—who marketed and fed cattle from the open range, as opposed to a fenced property—Frank and Romie Houston, who allowed Reaugh to join them on cattle round-ups. Pastel sketches and studies, some of which he later used to create the series “Twenty-Four Hours with the Herd,” were made while on horseback or riding in a wagon. Between 1884 and 1889, Reaugh received formal training from the School of Fine Arts in St. Louis and from the Julian School in Paris. This training enabled Reaugh to establish and teach art classes in Terrell and to begin marketing his work in the region.
In 1890, Reaugh moved with his parents to Oak Cliff, Texas, where in 1903 he and his father built a metal studio, nicknamed “Old Ironsides,” behind the family home. By 1906, students were traveling west on sketching trips with Reaugh. These excursions, made first by horse, mule and wagon, and then later by automobile, became annual events. Reaugh’s custom-built, open-air Ford touring bus, nicknamed “Cicada,” made its first trip west in 1920 and continued to be employed for almost two decades. In 1929, Reaugh built a new studio and residence, which he named “El Sibil,” in Oak Cliff. Often acknowledged as the “Dean of Texas Artists,” Reaugh continued to teach and to give lectures on art throughout his career at his Oak Cliff studio as well as at many regional schools including Baylor University and The University of Texas at Austin.
In addition to being an accomplished artist and teacher, Reaugh formulated and marketed his own brand of pastels, which were color-keyed to native flora, and invented and patented a lap easel and an industrial rotary pump. Reaugh died in Dallas, Texas, on May 6, 1945.


Reaugh, Frank. Biographical. Privately published in pamphlet form in Dallas, Tex., December 1936.
Reaugh, Frank. Paintings of the Southwest: Notes by the Painter. Dallas, Tex.: Wilkinson Printing Company, 1937.
Reitz, Robert, and Gardner Smith. In Considerable Style: The Sketch Trips of Frank Reaugh. Stephenville, Tex.: Moccasin Rock Press, 2003.
Wittenbach, Stefanie. "Reaugh, Charles Franklin," Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Accessed July 1, 2013.

Scope and Contents

The Frank Reaugh Art Collection is comprised of 217 works of art including landscape drawings and paintings, portrait drawings and paintings, studies of flora and fauna, and monochrome works. Though the majority of works are undated, they were created over the course of Reaugh's career from 1880 to 1937. The bulk of the collection was created using pastels, but there are also charcoal, ink, and graphite drawings, oil paintings, and a watercolor painting by Reaugh, as well as portraits of Reaugh created by other artists. The collection is organized into three series: I. Works by Reaugh, 1880-1937, undated; II. Works by Other Artists, 1937, undated; and III. Associated Materials, 1880-1937, undated. Each series is arranged by accession number, and titles transcribed from the items appear in single quotes. When possible, dates were taken from the works. Other dates come from an earlier inventory of the collection.
The first series, Works by Reaugh, comprises the bulk of the collection. The works span Reaugh's career and represent his endeavor to capture the untamed and uncivilized landscapes of the Southwest. His primary focus was on the wild cattle, especially the long-horned steer, with the cowboy portrayed only as a secondary subject. In addition to Texas, Reaugh sketched in New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, Montana, and Wyoming. His landscape drawings and paintings, largely in pastel, portray land-features including mesas, mountains, valleys and bodies of water, as well as the flora and fauna of the region. Many of these works focus on various aspects of cattle herding and ranching, as well as the effects of moonlight, sunrise, sunset, and weather on the plains. The collection also includes botanical illustrations, some of which feature trees and flowers, while others include these plants as part of greater landscapes. Additional subjects include studies of birds, cattle, and other mammals native to the region; forts, ruins, and other buildings; and pueblos and indigenous peoples. Also present are figure studies and portraits in oil, including a portrait of his student Lucretia Donnell Coke.
The second series, Works by Other Artists, consists of two portraits of Reaugh, one of which is by the American painter Gasper J. Ruffolo. The other is by Ruth Underwood, a former student of Reaugh's.
The final series, Associated Materials, is largely comprised of original backings, mats, and other framing materials, inscriptions from Reaugh's artworks, and exhibition labels that were separated from the artworks for housing and storage purposes. Not all artworks have associated materials and many backings and exhibition labels remain with the artworks. The series also includes a fragment of a printed poem which was not associated with any particular artwork.

Related Material

The Harry Ransom Center has several other related items and collections. Also within the Art Collection are a reproduction of Reaugh’s Classification Chart of Animals of North America and reproductions of two photographs. One photograph is a studio portrait of the artist with his palette taken in 1916; the other is a group portrait of Reaugh with a group of his students and his truck “Cicada.” The Frank Reaugh Literary File in the Photography Collection holds a vintage snapshot of the artist as an old man, seated in a rocking chair, with various canvases visible in the background. Other works related to Reaugh can be found in the Center's Books and Periodicals Collection.
The University of Texas at Austin also holds the Frank Reaugh Papers which can be found at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

Separated Material

Index Terms


Sunrises & Sunsets
West (U.S.)--Geography


West (U.S.)

Document Types

Landscapes (Representations)--American
Oil paintings
Pastels (Visual works)
Studies (Visual works)

Item List