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John Tidden left Rice in the late twenties and his
place was taken by Frederic Browne who soon
had a group studying with him in addition to
those students from the campus. Evelyn Bessel 
and Browne were invited to bring their classes to
the Museum and they used the unfinished upper
rooms as studios. Sculpture classes were
started under William McVey. Others to join the
teaching staff were Francis Skinner, Robert
Joy, and Ruth Pershing Uhler who, at her death, 
was Curator of Education. Since the thirties the
Museum School has continued to grow under a
continuous line of excellent teachers, many of 
them practicing painters and sculptors and some
represented in this exhibition.

Other important centers for training in the arts
have contributed much to the productive side of
art experience in Houston, among them the art
departments at the University of Houston, St.
Thomas University, Rice University, Texas
Southern and the relatively new Baptist College.

Throughout its history the Museum has always
believed in the active encouragement of regional
talent through the sponsorship of many local
and statewide competitive exhibitions. In recent
years some of the needs of the artists of the area
have been ameliorated by the attention of many
art dealers, including the Dubose Gallery and
Meredith Long and Company, both active for
more than a decade, and others more recent.
Even so, the museum has done much through
the school and its faculty, through exhibitions
and acquisitions to sustain the development of
Houston artists at the same time it has been
occupied with the broadest possible considera-
tions of historical art.

James Chillman, Jr., Director Emeritus
Museum of Fine Arts of Houston


Editor's Note: James Chillman, Jr. was an
instructor in architecture at Rice Institute
in 1916 and was selected in 1924 to be the
first director of the new Museum of Fine Arts
of Houston. He served until 1953 and again as
interim director from 1959 to 1961; and over
these thirty-one years he formulated the
character of the museum as an institution
interested in all cultural manifestations. During
his tenure some important collections came to
the museum, among them the Edith A. and Percy
S. Straus Collection of Renaissance paintings
and bronzes, the Annette Finnigan Collection of
classical art, the Samuel H. Kress Collection of 
Spanish and Italian paintings, the Hogg Brothers Collection of paintings by Frederic Remington, 
the Robert Lee Blaffer Memorial Collection of 
European paintings, and the Bayou Bend 
Collection of Indian Art of the Southwest. In 
addition to being Director Emeritus of the 
museum, Mr. Chillman is teaching as Trustee 
Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts of 
Rice University. Lee Malone became director
of the museum in 1954, serving through 1958, 
the year in which a new wing, designed by Mies
van der Rohe, was added as a gift by Miss Nina
Cullinan. In 1961 James Johnson Sweeney
was chosen as director, serving to 1967; and in 1969 Philippe de Montebello, present director, assumed his duties.

Soon to be a companion to the Museum of Fine Arts across Bissonnet will be the Contemporary Arts Museum with Sebastian Adler as director. This institution was originally the Contemporary Arts Association, established in 1948 by a group of independent-minded art patrons and artists, and operating for many years in a small but ingeniously designed gallery. In the fifties Jermayne MacAgy, as director, presented a rousing program of exhibitions and events, and these will surely continue under Adler's direction in the new and improved conditions. Another innovation on the Houston art scene is the Institute for the Arts established in 1969 at Rice University by John and Dominique de Menil. The Institute will serve as a basis for versatile teaching programs, lectures and exhibitions under the direction of Dominique de Menil.
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact