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Alexandre Hogue

An American Visionary--Paintings and Works on Paper

Susie Kalil

Publication Year: 2011

Presenting the unique vision of an American original . . .   Alexandre Hogue, a renowned artist whose career spanned from the 1920s to his death in 1994, inherited the view of an America that imagined itself as filled with limitless potential for improvement, that considered high art and great ideas accessible to ordinary working people, and that saw no reason for an intellectual chasm between a learned elite and the masses. He always viewed himself as a radical, yet his passion stemmed from a deeply conservative idea: that art, culture, and nature should form a central force in the life of every human being. His well-known Dust Bowl series labeled him as a regionalist painter, but Hogue never accepted that identity. His work reveals the spirit of Texas and the Southwest as he experienced it for nearly a century. In his later years Hogue worked in forms of crisply rendered nonobjective and calligraphic one-liner paintings. Bringing to light new information regarding the Erosion and Oil Industry series, this book gives special attention to lesser known, post-1945 works, in addition to the awe-inspiring Moon Shot and final Big Bend series. Each series—from the hauntingly beautiful Taos landscapes and prophetic canvases of a dust-covered Southwest to his depictions of the fierce geological phenomena of the Big Bend—serves as a paean to the awesomeness of nature. Houston-based curator and critic Susie Kalil grew close to Hogue from 1986 to 1994, a time during which she interviewed him, considered his oeuvre with him, and came to share his vision of the nature and purposes of art. In Alexandre Hogue she reveals Hogue as he presented himself and his work to her. Collections with Alexandre Hogue's paintings: Musee National D'Art Moderne, Pompidou, Paris DallasMuseum of Art Museum of Fine Arts, Houston The GilcreaseMuseum, Tulsa The Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa University of Tulsa Tulsa Performing ArtsCenter Smithsonian Institution (NationalMuseum of American Art), Washington, DC OklahomaMuseum of Art, Okla City The SheldonMuseum of Art, University of Nebraska, Lincoln PhoenixArt Museum University of Arizona, Tucson Art Museum of SouthTexas, Corpus Christi Panhandle Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Tx. StarkMuseum, Orange, Tx Southern MethodistUniversity, Dallas SpringfieldArt Museum, Springfield, Missouri WeatherspoonArt Museum, University of North Carolina at Greensboro The Federal Reserve Bank, Dallas The Williams Companies, Tulsa    

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Series: Tarleton State University Southwestern Studies in the Humanities

front matter

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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xv

I first made contact with Alexandre Hogue in 1985 when I was guest curator of the exhibition The Texas Landscape: 1900–1986 for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. In a letter written to Hogue, I made the mistake of describing the desert locale of a Big Bend painting as “desolate.” In his speedy reply, Hogue instructed me to strike the word from my vocabulary ...


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pp. xvii

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pp. 1-8

... figure, from memory or imagination. Accordingly, he aimed to comprehend and express the tension and harmony he perceived between the self and the spiritual world, between the intellect and nature as he understood them. The Southwest— Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma—provided settings that allowed ...

Part One : Paintings

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1: The Early Years

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pp. 11-28

... physical involvement with the landscape of the Southwest. Founded on a deep accord with nature, his work expresses the beauty and fragility of this relationship. His purpose was consistent throughout his prolific career, namely to create paintings that express his spiritual vision in the most profoundly ...

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2: Taos and Back to Texas

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pp. 29-61

The only way to get in was through a locked corral gate in this big ranch. From there you’d take a trail. You’d see a windmill and then all of a sudden you’re on the edge of the canyon looking down. It’s that quick. There is enough of an irregularity to indicate why that canyon is there—why it ...

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3: The Dust Bowl Era

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pp. 62-86

... contours presented a sentimentalized nineteenth-century view of America that idealized life on the land. Benton, in particular, roamed the country for months on end in the hopes of grasping rural America’s earthy vigor. Taking cues from the “people’s art” of the Mexican muralists, Benton created an indigenous ...

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4: The Early Forties

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pp. 87-99

constantly sought a subject matter that would represent his authentic inner self—a core goal for modern artists. Personal experience was the connective tissue for Hogue. This aspect of enlarging experience led him to express and identify the very soul of his environment. “In various creative mediums it is my desire to interpret nature and my nature in relation to the ways ...

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5: Toward an Intuitive Geometry

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pp. 100-124

library material which most people have never seen.”1 In the years that followed, Hogue frequently visited Gilcrease at his home where they would engage in discussions about modern art and the direction of the museum. At the time, the collection was housed in an old stone barn; another building down the hill was used as an office, and an upstairs space housed a group ...

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6: The Moon Shot Series

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pp. 125-129

the constraints of the art market or the aspersions of critical response, Hogue began to commingle increasingly overt references to science and technology, ranging from an awareness of atomic energy to a fascination with space exploration, especially NASA’s program to reach the moon. Hogue did not see art, nature, science, and daily life as separate pursuits, but as different ...

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7: The Big Bend Paintings

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pp. 130-151

taught a summer painting class at Sul Ross State College in Alpine, some eighty miles north of Big Bend National Park. For Hogue, the intention was to cultivate a sense of merging with the vast ecosystem, with scenery that couldn’t be controlled, in order to comprehend that working with nature also means functioning on nature’s terms. Significantly, wisdom from maturity ...

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Paintings: Conclusion

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pp. 152

Alexandre Hogue’s subject was the instability of life, its changeability in a widening world. His purpose was to stimulate a fresh but not always comforting sense of possibility and wonderment. What he created over a long career is a body of work that hauntingly insinuates itself into the minds of viewers. What he painted was a visual articulation of the experience of being alive in a modern industrial world. This kind of completeness is ...

Part Two : Works on Paper

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8: Drawing: The Dynamic Impulse

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pp. 155-178

... or chance encounters. Drawing’s qualities of immediacy and intimacy suggest it as the quintessential medium for artists to express ideas of freedom and dissent, passion, fear, or disorder. Drawing is improvisatory and always in motion, offering the most extraordinary range of possibilities. It is a map of time that records the actions of the artist. As such, its very nature ...

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9: The Late Works

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pp. 179-188

... universal order. As his imagery developed, the work consistently invoked personal experience while addressing the most primal of human concerns: the difference between self and other, between transcendence and metamorphosis, between that which can be controlled and that which cannot. Some images tap into memories of strange places and the wonder that both attracts ...

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pp. 189-190

It’s tempting to see Alexandre Hogue’s art as germane to current art world practices. Affinities with new art give his work some parochial currency, but its larger significance has to do with a general desire for authentic expression. Hogue’s choice to pursue his own path, to quit the city, to paint what he wanted, not what the market dictated, certainly plays into the popular notion of the artist indifferent to art world machinations, ...


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pp. 191-194


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pp. 195-207

E-ISBN-13: 9781603446655
E-ISBN-10: 1603446656
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603442145
Print-ISBN-10: 1603442146

Page Count: 232
Illustrations: 61 color plates. 13 b&w drawings. Index.
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Tarleton State University Southwestern Studies in the Humanities

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Southwestern States -- In art.
  • Hogue, Alexandre, 1898-1994 -- Themes, motives.
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