Forrest Bess

Listing 4 Works   |   Viewing 1 - 4

formatting
Forrest  Bess Acapulco
Acapulco, 1939
oil on canvas
18 x 20 in
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Forrest  Bess Fourth Church at Deming_s Bridge (Blessing_ Texas)
Fourth Church at Deming's Bridge (Blessing, Texas), c. 1960
linocut
5.75 x 4.5 in
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Forrest  Bess Third Church at Deming_s Bridge (Blessing_ Texas)
Third Church at Deming's Bridge (Blessing, Texas), c. 1960
linocut
5.75 x 4.5 in
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Forrest  Bess Untitled (Buildings)
Untitled (Buildings), c. 1935
woodblock print
5.75 x 7.5 in
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formatting

Forrest  Bess

Forrest Bess

Forrest Bess Description

FORREST CLEMENGER BESS (1911–1977)

Forrest Bess was born in Bay City, Texas. His father was an itinerant oil field worker and ran a bait fishing camp at Chinquapin on the Intracoastal Canal in Matagorda County. He studied architecture at Texas A&M and art at the University of Texas at Austin but left higher education to work in the oil fields and save money for travel. While traveling in Mexico, Bess studied at the San Carlos Academy and with British painter, Richard Carline, in Taxco de Alarcon.

Bess served with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was treated for symptoms of a nervous breakdown at the Veteran's Hospital in San Antonio. After being released from military service, Bess began to actively exhibit his work in San Antonio and statewide. He returned to his family's bait camp at Chinquapin on a strip of land accessible only by boat. He remained there for the rest of his life, caring for the business and painting.

After suffering a stroke, Bess stopped painting and died in a Bay City nursing home. Since his death, museums and galleries around the world have continued to mount major exhibitions of his work. Much of his correspondence is housed in the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian.

Biographical and Career Highlights

  • 1911 Born in Bay City, Texas
  • 1929–30 Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
  • 1931–32 University of Texas at Austin, Texas
  • 1934 San Carlos Academy, Mexico City
  • 1941–45 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • 1973 Grant Recipient, Mark Rothko Foundation
  • 1977 Died in Bay City, Texas

Selected Prizes, Awards

·       Honorable Mention, 1938 Southeast Texas Artists, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

  • 1938 HM, Southeast Texas Artists Exhibition, MFAH

·       Award, 1946 San Antonio Local Artists

  • 1946 Award, San Antonio Local Artists

Selected Exhibitions

·       1936 Solo, Lobby of the BayTex Hotel, Bay City, Texas

·       1938 Solo, Witte Museum, San Antonio, Texas

·       1938 Southeast Texas Artists 2nd Exhibition, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas (honorable mention)

·       1939 15th Annual Exhibition of Work by Houston Artists, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

·       1939 Southeast Texas Artists 3rd Exhibition, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

·       1939 Solo, Art Institute, Texas Tech College, Lubbock, Texas

·       1939 16th Biennial of Contemporary American Oil Paintings, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (catalogue)

·       1940 Solo, Witte Museum, San Antonio, Texas

·       1940 1st Texas General Exhibit, circulated: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Witte Museum, San Antonio; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas

·       1941 One-Man Show by Forrest Bess, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

·       1942 Paintings and Prints by Artists of Various Nations, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

·       1946 Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas

·       1946, 1947 San Antonio Local Artists Annual Exhibition, San Antonio, Texas (award 1946)

·       1951, 1954, 1957, 1959 Solos, Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, New York

·       1951 Paintings by Forrest Bess, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

·       1951 Solo, Memorial Student Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

·       1951 Arts Festival, Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas

·       1951 Solo, Oklahoma Art Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

·       1951 Forrest Bess: One Man Show, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas

·       1952 Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma

·       1953 Artists West of the Mississippi, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado

·       1957 Pacemakers, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas (catalogue, text by Jermayne MacAgy)

·       1957 Recent Contemporary Acquisitions—Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas (catalogue, text by Jermayne MacAgy)

·       1958 Forrest Bess, Andre Emmerich Gallery, Houston, Texas (catalogue)

·       1958 Solo, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

·       1958 Fresh Paint—1958, A Selective Survey of Recent Western Painting, Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California; de Young Museum, San Francisco, California (catalogue)

·       1962 The Age of the Thousand Flowers: An Exhibition of Works by Artists Past and Present, University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas (catalogue, text by Jermayne MacAgy)

·       1962 Forrest Bess: Retrospective Exhibition, Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, New York (catalogue, text by Meyer Schapiro)

·       1962 Forrest Bess, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas (chechlist)

·       1962 American Paintings from Houston Collections, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

·       1962-63 Wit and Whimsy in 20th Century Art, traveled by American Federation of Arts: Tyler School of Fine Arts, Phildelphia; Tulane University, New Orleans; University of Missouri, Columbia; Utah Museum, Salt Lake City; Witte Museum, San Antonio

·       1963 Solo, New Arts Gallery, Houston, Texas

·       1964 Dealer’s Choice: An Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Prints, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas (catalogue, texts by Bruce Glaser and Christophe Thurman)

·       1966 8th Annual Painting Invitational, Longview Museum of Fine Arts, Longview, Texas

·       1967 Solo, Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, New York (brochure, text by L. George)

·       1967 Witte Museum, San Antonio, Texas

·       1967 Davis Gallery, San Antonio Art League, San Antonio, Texas

·       1968 Betty Parson’s Private Collection, Finch College Museum of Art, New York; Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield, Michigan; Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, Tennessee (catalogue)

·       1974 Solo, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York

·       1977 Solo, Texas, Art League of Bay City, Texas

·       1981 Forrest Bess, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York (brochure, text by Barbara Haskell)

·       1982 In Our Time: Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum, 1948-1982, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas (catalogue)

·       1983 The Mary and Earle Ludgin Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois

·       1984 ‘I knew it to be so!’ Forrest Bess, Alfred Jensen, Myron Stout: Theory and the Visionary, New York Studio School, New York; Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania (catalogue, texts by John Yau, David Reed, Lawrence Lurhing, and Thomas Hudspeth)

·       1984 Ten Years of Collecting at the MCA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois

·       1984 La rime et la raison: les Collections Menil (Houston – New York), Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris (catalogue, texts by Dominique de Menil, Walter Hopps, Betrand Davezac, and Jean-Yves Mock)

·       1986 Forrest Bess, Butler Gallery, Houston, Texas

·       1986 The Texas Landscape, 1900-1986, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas (catalogue, text by Susie Kalil)

·       1987 Retrospective, Hiram Butler Gallery, Houston, Texas

·       1987 Hiram Butler Gallery, Houston, Texas

·       1988 Forrest Bess, Hirschel and Adler Modern Gallery, New York, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois; San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, California (catalogue, texts by Meyer Schapiro [1962] and John Yau)

·       1988 Texas Art: An Exhibition selected from the Menil Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Trustee’s Collection of the Contemporary Arts Museum, Menil Collection Richmond Hall, Houston, Texas (catalogue, texts by Neil Printz, Marilyn Zeitlin, and Alison de Lima Greene)

·       1988 Personal Cosmologies, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Arts, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

·       1989 Private Eye: Selected Works from Collections of Friends of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas (catalogue)

·       1989 Forrest Bess (1911-1977): Here is a Sign, Museum Ludwig Koln, Cologne, Germany (catalogue, texts by Meyer Schapiro [1962], John Yau [1988], and Alfred M. Fischer)

·       1989-90 Abstract Expressionism: Other Dimensions, Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida; Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois; Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey (catalogue, texts by Jeffrey Wechsler, Sam Hunter, Irving Sandler and Same Hunter, Matthew Lee Rohn [1987], and William C. Seitz [1983])

·       1990 Toward the Future: Contemporary Art in Context, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois

·       1990 Tradition and Innovation: A Museum Celebration of Texas Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

·       1991 Selections from the Collection, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, New York

·       1991 Texas Selections from the Menil Collection, Galveston Art Center, Galveston, Texas (checklist)

·       1993 Solo, Hirschl & Adler Modern, New York, New York

·       1994 Forrest Bess, Annemarie Verna Galerie, Zurich

·       1996 Texas Modern & Post-Modern, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas (publication)

·       1997 Forrest Bess und Myron Stout: Bilder der soer Jahre, Galerie Daniel Blau, Munich

·       1998 Personal Cosmologies, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

·       2000 Modern and Contemporary Art: Spotlight on the Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

·       2003 Half Air, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, New York

·       2004 The Privilege of Solitude: Alfred Jensen and Forrest Bess, Nielsen Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts

·       2004 17/15: A Selection of Art Made in Houston 1950-1965, Brazos Projects, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Texas

·       2005 Paint it Black, Betty Cunningham Gallery, New York, New York

·       2006 Houston Art in Houston Collections: Works from 1900 to 1965, Heritage Society Museum, Houston, Texas

·       2006 We Make Any Size of Mirror: Norbert Schwontkowski and Forrest Bess, Philip Guston, Alex Katz, Pablo Picasso, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Now York, New York (catalogue)

·       2006-2011 Re-Framing American Art: Selections from the Roy R. Neuberger Collection, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, New York

·       2007 Texas Modern: The Rediscovery of Early Texas Abstraction (1935-1965), Martin Museum of Art, Baylor University, Waco, Texas (catalogue, texts by Jim Edwards and Mark L. Smith)

·       2009 Oranges and Sardines: Conversations on Abstract Painting, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, California (catalogue, text by Gary Garrels)

·       2009 CORE, Betty Cunningham Gallery, New York, New York

·       2010 La maison et l’infini: La collection de Christian Zacharias, Foundation de l’Hermitage, Lausanne, Switzerland (catalogue, texts by Juliane Cosandier, Nicholas Raboud, Isabelle Ruf, John Yau, Pascal Bruckner, CPLY [William N. Copley; 1977], and Michel Thevoz)

·       2011 Set and Sutures: Forrest Bess, Justin Lieberman, John McLaughlin, Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York, New York

·       2011 When Modern Was Contemporary: Selections from the Roy R. Neuberger Collection, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, New York

·       2011 Forrest Bess: 100 Years, Kirk Hopper Fine Art, Dallas, Texas (catalogue, texts by Susie Kalil, Meyer Schapiro [1962], Andrew Masullo, and Daphne Merkin)

·       2012 Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York (catalogue)

·       2012 ‘My painting is tomorrow’s painting. Watch and See.’ Forrest Bess, Including Works from the Harry Burkhart Collection, Christie’s New York, New York (catalogue, texts by Robert Storr and Wayne Koestenbaum)

·       2012 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York (catalogue, text on Bess by Robert Gober)

·       2013-14 Forrest Bess: Seeing Things Invisible, Menil Collection, Houston, Texas, traveled to: Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, California; Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York (catalogue)

·       2014 Left Bank on the Bayou: Houston Avant-garde Art and Theatre in the 1930s, O’Kane Gallery, University of Houston-Downtown, Houston, Texas

·       2015 Bayou City Chic: Progressive Streams of Modern Art in Houston, Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, Texas (catalogue)

Selected Public Collections

  • Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Menil Collection, Houston, Texas
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York
  • Witte Museum, San Antonio, Texas

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