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Undated self-portrait ofVerner White. Used with permission of Mrs. Dudley C. Sharp. Color reproductions of some ofWhite's paintings are featured in an insert for this article. Verner White: Rediscovering a Neglected Texas Artist ByJames Graham Baker* Verner White was one of the leading artists in early twentieth-century Texas. His movements were reported by the state's newspapers and he was awarded prized commissions. His work was so well respected that when President William McKinley and his wife visited San Antonio on May 4, 1 90 1 , the city's leaders selected White to create a grand painting of the Alamo as a gift for the McKinleys . Three years later, White was selected to provide the paintings for the Texas exhibits at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. After the fair, White decided to settle in St. Louis, and his fame in Texas slowly dissolved into the mists of time. Even though White's charm, good looks, connections, culture, and artistic skills made him one ofthe best-known and most respected artists in Texas between 1895 and 1904, he and most of his work have now become virtually forgotten. This is the story ofThomas Verner Moore White (he always went by Verner White) , his work and life in Texas, his most famous painting ( TheAlamo with Señora Candelaria), and his commission for the World's Fair. Born in Lunenburg County, Virginia, near Richmond, in 1863, White was the son of a Presbyterian churchman who belonged to an old Virginia family.1 Although he grew up in the ruins ofthe Old South *James Graham Baker retired from Texas A&M University as Director ofComputing for the College of Architecture in 2005. In addition to his work in computing, during his time at the university he developed the first course in Texas Art History offered in the state. He has lectured on early Texas art for various museum programs, collector organizations, art leagues, and the Center for the Study and Advancement of Early Texas Art (CASETA) annual meetings. He was a founding director of caseta, has developed Texas Art History modules for secondary schools, and has organized and presented exhibitions of early Texas art and artists at Texas A&M and elsewhere in the College Station area. Mr. Baker holds a master's degree in nautical archaeology from Texas A&M and a bachelor's degree in anthropology from Soudiern Methodist University. He lives with his wife, Kimel, in College Station, where they continue to collect and research earryTexas art. Mr. Baker may be reached atjbakeri@suddenlink.net. 1 John and Deborah Powers, Texas Painters, Sculptors and Graphic Artists (Austin: Woodmont Books, Vol. CXIII, No. 4 Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril 2010 424Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril among people who clung to the memories of a culture that had been largely shattered, his was a privileged youth. He studied with a private tutor to the age ofseventeen and then attended Southwestern Presbyterian University at Clarksville, Tennessee, where he studied art.2 Following his education in Tennessee, White traveled widely throughout the South, visiting Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida . For two years, 1884-1886, he painted out of a studio in Mobile, Alabama, and at some point during those years visited Biloxi, Mississippi , where he made the acquaintance ofJefferson Davis and Davis's daughter, Winnie, and thereafter became a frequent visitor to the Davis home, Beauvoir.* White painted the last portrait made ofJefferson Davis and fell in love with Winnie (though their relationship did not last) while working on portraits ofthe Father and Daughter ofthe Confederacy. Winnie, who also painted and had studied in Germany, recommended that White go to Europe to study and improve his art before he finished her portrait.4 Taking her advice, White traveled to France in 1886, beginning an eight- or nine-year sojourn during which he "studied, starved, and painted" across Europe.5 He visited Calais, Brussels, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Liege, Paris, Biarritz, Pau, Normandy, Lourdes, and the Pyrenees before finally setting sail from The Hague for New York in December of 1 8g5·6 While in Europe, White seems to have specialized in painting dogs. Auction records from galleries in Belgium, England, and Holland list at least five such paintings.7 Upon his return to the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. viii-436
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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