Meadows Museum Announces Two Exhibitions Focusing on Innovative Female Artists in 20th-Century Texas

DALLAS (SMU) (Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016) - The Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University has announced two upcoming exhibitions highlighting the innovative careers of Marie Cronin, Carlotta Corpron and Janet Turner - artists who were deeply rooted in Texas but heavily informed by European and other global influences.
Between Paris and Texas: Marie Cronin, Portraitist of the Belle Époque and Process and Innovation: Carlotta Corpron and Janet Turner run concurrently from February 14 to June 5, 2016.

"These exhibitions spotlight the changing roles of female artists in the early and mid-1900s," said Nicole Atzbach, Curator of the Meadows Museum. "In the first years of the 20th century, Marie Cronin went to Paris, then the center of the art world, specifically to establish her career. Within a few decades, two more Texas-based artists, Carlotta Corpron and Janet Turner, were pushing boundaries and influencing countless artists in their respective media of photography and printmaking."

Between Paris and Texas:Marie Cronin, Portraitist of the Belle Époque hints at the enticement that European centers of art held for artists of the American West in the early 20th century. Raised in the East Texas town of Palestine, Marie Cronin (1867-1951) studied art in Chicago and New York before boarding a ship for Europe where she sought out the esteemed Spanish artist Claudio Castelucho. Cronin studied for nearly five years with Castelucho in the Parisian district of Montparnasse at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, during which time he painted a portrait of her that was widely exhibited in European salons and the United States.

The painting, Portrait of Marie Cronin, was a recent gift to the Meadows Museum and inspired the creation of Between Paris and Texas: Marie Cronin, Portraitist of the Belle Époque, which will feature works by Cronin in addition to Castelucho's portrait of his student. Although Cronin's paintings show her teacher's lasting impact on her work, she gained other important training and experiences while living in Europe, including studying the works of the old masters in Madrid and creating a version of a 17th-century portrait of the Infanta Margarita after Velázquez. Cronin's version - after a recent conservation of the work - will be on display during the exhibition. When Cronin returned to Texas, she secured important portrait commissions of Texas political dignitaries and statesmen, which are also a part of the exhibition.

Process and Innovation: Carlotta Corpron and Janet Turner lends additional scope to the Meadows Museum's focus on innovative female artists who worked in Texas during the last century. Both Corpron (1901-1988) and Turner (1914-1988) taught art at Texas universities and employed highly experimental methods in their corresponding media of photography and printmaking.

Corpron taught at Texas State College for Women (now Texas Woman's University) from 1935 to 1968, and developed an innovative, abstract style of photography that portrayed everything from eggshells to scraps of paper to the midway rides at the State Fair of Texas. The subject of solo exhibitions at the the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts (now the Dallas Museum of Art), The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Corpron was described by art critic Michael Ennis as "the finest avant-garde photographer Texas has ever seen."

Turner taught art at Stephen F. Austin State College in Nacogdoches beginning in 1947 and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1952 to study the flora and fauna along the Texas Gulf Coast. Directing her focus from painting to printmaking, she depicted the power and vulnerability of nature while exploring new printmaking techniques and stretching the limits of her medium. For more than 40 years, Turner inspired countless young printmakers and promoted printmaking as an art form.

Process and Innovation: Carlotta Corpron and Janet Turner draws entirely from holdings within the Dallas area, including the Bywaters Special Collections of SMU and loans from such private owners as Jack and Beverly Wilgus, who have generously promised their vast photographic collection to SMU's DeGolyer Library. Additionally, images by Beverly Wilgus, along with Barbara Maples, former students of Corpron, will also be on view.

"It is a great pleasure to exhibit these outstanding works by three artists who've played such a key role in the history of art in Texas," said Mark A. Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts. "These works by Marie Cronin, Carlotta Corpron and Janet Turner offer visitors a unique look at the important innovations that took place in our state throughout the 20th century."