WT’s Art Program, PPHM to premiere Southwest Abstractions by Emil Bisttram, Sept. 21

Local News

(Left) Emil Bisttram, Festivity, 1960 Enamel on Masonite, 41 x 25in. On loan from the Ladd Collection. (Right) Emil Bisttram, Radiance, 1967 Acrylic on Masonite, 50 x 44 in. On loan from the Ladd Collection.

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The West Texas A&M Art Program and the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum are set to present Southwest Abstractions of Emil Bisttram, and exhibition of the artist’s late-career paintings from the Ladd Collection.

According to WT, Emil Bisttram was a leading painter in the Southwest during the twentieth century, and he studied at the National Academy of Art and Design and Cooper Union when New York began its emerging art world. In 1931, Bisttram moved to Taos, New Mexico where he founded the Transcendental Paintings Group in 1938 with Raymond Jonson, an abstract painter from Albuquerque.

Although Bisttram continued to produce paintings until his death in 1975, the majority of his works after World War II were “non-objective abstractions inspired by his spiritual practices of meditation, Theosophy, and the hope of reaching higher planes of existence,” WT explained.

Bisttram collection of paintings are drawn from the Ladd Family of Amarillo, which is the first time this group of works will be shown together in a museum of public setting.

WT stated, Professor of Art History, Amy Von Lintel, and the Art Program Director, Jon Revett have developed teaching curriculum around the exhibition for the last year.

The show will feature student-produced videos and a smaller show in the PPHM Alexander Gallery of student prints inspired by Bisttram’s paintings.

“This research and the production of the exhibition demonstrate how a West Texas private collection of Bisttram’s paintings can uniquely reveal this important artist’s place in the complex history of American modernism. We are grateful to the Ladd Family of Amarillo for allowing this special group of paintings to be shared with the public,” said Revett.

The exhibition on the first floor of PPHM in the Harrington Gallery will run September 21, 2021 through March 19, 2022. Regular admission rates apply. For more information, including a special public Bisttram event on November 6th, visit panhandleplains.org.

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