Dan R. Stewart

(American, 1926-2013)

Finding Gulf Oil Divide, c. 2005
Oil on canvas; 16 x 36 inches
Gift of Linda and William Reaves, The Linda and William Reaves Collection of Texas Art at UHV, 2022

An architect by training, Dan R. Stewart was passionate about humankind’s technological advancements and inventiveness. He was inspired by structures like ancient ruins, churches, mosques, and temples. The effects of Stewart’s preoccupation with architecture and design are apparent in his oil paintings. With the articulation of cathedral vaulting, the vibrant colors and shapes of Finding Gulf Oil Divide interlock with one another. The red triangle acts as a joint or wedge between the orange and grey rectangular swaths. Like weathered steel, the pigments crumble and crack exposing additional color. Jarring splashes and flecks of white, blue, orange, and yellow heighten the distressed quality of the work. Like a mosaic at close range, the colorful geometric shapes are packed together securely in the pictorial space. The work exudes a sense of geometric order, intentionality, and sophistication.

Stewart studied architecture at Cooper Union, the University of Cincinnati, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1955, he won the Rome Prize in Architecture. Through this award, Stewart was able to study in Europe for two consecutive years. In 1961, he took a position as an architect for the firm Caudill Rowlett Scott in Houston. Stewart’s passion for art and architecture led him to travel the globe extensively. He spent stints living abroad in Santiago, Istanbul, Tokyo, and Dhahran. Despite of its esteem among scholars and specialists in Modern Texas art, Stewart had little interest in exhibiting his art publicly. Stewart passed away in 2013 in Houston.


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