Sculpture and the State Fair

Today is the day we’ve been waiting for–it’s opening day for Dallas’s annual State Fair of Texas! Every year millions of people visit Fair Park, the home of the State Fair, for culinary adventures, rides, expositions, and other events. But what many visitors don’t know is that the fairgrounds also boast a number of sculptures and adorned structures created by 20th-century Texas artists who are represented in the DMA’s collections.

Several of the artists featured in our current show Texas Sculpture were commissioned to create sculpture for the fairgrounds in the early 20th century. In 1936 the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in Fair Park (a predecessor of the DMA) prepared a landmark exhibition of works by nationally and internationally recognized sculptors for the Texas centennial celebration. That exhibition, as well as the one currently on view at the DMA, included works by Michael G. Owen, Allie V. Tennant, Dorothy Austin, and Evaline Sellors, among others.

If you’re a fan of the State Fair, many of you have seen this:

It’s by Allie V. Tennant (1898-1971), who was commissioned by the Centennial Committee to create the gold-leaf on bronze Tejas Warrior (1936) at the Hall of State in Fair Park. On view in our Texas Sculpture exhibition are two other works by Tennant, Woman’s Head and Negro Head. In 1940 she created the reliefs Cattle, Oil, and Wheat for the Aquarium at Fair Park under the Federal Works Agency.

Allie V. Tennant, "Woman's Head," n.d., red sandstone, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Dr. and Mrs. Robert W. Webb

Dorothy Austin, "Noggin," c. 1933, white pine, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of an anonymous friend

Dorothy Austin, "Noggin," c. 1933, white pine, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of an anonymous friend

Who says fried Frito pie and art don’t go together?




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