Greetings all! My apologies for a dry spell in posting. Summer seems to have gone by at warp speed for me with the “art season” in full bloom here in Boone, N.C. I did my best to convert a few new Whitney followers during the Cheap Joe’s Annual Trade Show workshops and also gleaned a few possible contacts. Unfortunately, this will be the last Trade Show on the agenda as it had become a rather huge undertaking logistically. The good news is that I have received some great Whitney info and have at least 2-3 postings to work on, so lets get started!
One of my ancillary goals in creating this site in addition to collecting personal info about Whitney’s workshops and followers, was to track down where some of his original works currently reside. Last summer Frank Webb connected me with Whitney collector, student and personal friend…Dr. Faber McMullen of Texas.
Dr. McMullen remains an avid watercolorist and was the personal physician to Ed and Opie Whitney. To say that he was a collector of mid-20th century watercolorists is an understatement (as you will soon find out). On the Baylor University Campus at Waco, Texas, a Faculty Center will be dedicated October 3, 2008. This my friends is no ordinary Faculty Center, but one that will house and display McMullen’s extensive collection of works (280 pieces) in a variety of mediums spanning 40 years.
I will name a few artists featured in the collection in addition to Edgar Whitney: Charles Burchfield, Gerald Brommer, Rex Brandt, Cecile Cardman, Phil Dike, Don Dennis, Henry Fukahara, Polly Hammett, Dong Kingman, M.S. Kaneko, Ray Loos, Carl Molno, Barse Miller, John Marin, George Post (extensive), Elliot O’Hara, Carlton Plummer, Millard Sheets, Zoltan Szabo, Jo Taylor (extensive), Frank Webb, Edgar Whitney (39 works), Robert Wood, Frederick Whitaker, Milford Zornes…and others. Does it sound like a trip to Baylor is in order? It is my guess that this may be one of the (if not the) most extensive and cohesive collections of historically significant American watercolorists of this era.
Dr. McMullen took the time to respond thoughtfully to my inquiry and I will share a portion of his letter below:
Unfortunately time changes things dramatically and irreversibly, even though we wish that this would not be so. Even in the academic world one can not imagine that generations that follow would not know our professors. Each generation has its teachers, beloved professors, shared experiences and times. Those that follow in ten or twelve years have theirs and then the whole situation changes again. Ed Whitney was ours, not the possession and gift of the generation that follows. The other day I was looking at the art that was accepted for the 2008 American Watercolor Society Show and I realized that the art submitted by Milford Zornes, Dong Kingman, Edgar A. Whitney, Barse Miller, George Post, Phil Dike or Robert E. Wood thirty years ago would not be accepted today with the emphasis on photographic realism. …What really is the legacy of Edgar A. Whitney? I believe that this one person cut through the raised, confusing dust of the art teachers, meaning nothing words of the so called critics, and the cataract of misinformation published in design textbooks, to make all of the truth known about art discovery understandable to our generation. While Edgar A. Whitney lived, more of his students were members of the American Watercolor Society and the National Academy of Design than those of any other living teacher. It is my hope that this collection which includes most of the very best Whitney produced will be a tribute to this splendid teacher and that this effort will inspire future teachers to not only know, but teach, the principles and the essentials of design order. …Kindest Regards, Faber McMullen, Jr.
This enormous gift to Baylor and the world of watercolor has been funded by the McMullen Charity Family Partnership.
To view Dr. Mullen’s response letter (in full) and to see the entire collection listing that will be housed at this site, I have provided a PDF link below. You will need Adobe Reader plug-in if you do not already have it. Enjoy and begin planning your trip to Baylor! P.S…I am still seeking information from anyone re: Robert Conlan, the executor of Whitney’s estate and a long time personal friend and student of Whitney. My emails and letters of inquiry to Mr. Conlan have gone unanswered thus far, and I find it unusual that he would not be interested in this effort if he has received them. I certainly don’t wish to aggravate Mr. Conlan, but just wondering if any one has info about his status? Stay tuned… my next post will introduce you to a bit of Texas Whitney history.
Here is the link to the complete info: McMullen Letter and Collection Listing (pdf)
One last aside…I added a new Google Gadget on the left sidebar, a Follower feature that will allow you to be notified of new postings. Please sign-up to stay informed of progress with this effort!