DescriptionEDWARD MUEGGE "BUCK" SCHIWETZ (American, 1898-1984)
Blackened Wood Derricks, 1951
Mixed media on paper
16-1/8 x 20-7/8 inches (41.0 x 53.0 cm) (sight)
Signed and dated lower right: EM Schiwetz 51
PROPERTY FROM A CORPORATE COLLECTION
Born at Cuero, Texas, to a banker father and an artistic mother, Schiwetz dreamed of being an artist. Following high school his father insisted he study engineering at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University). Fortuitously, Schiwetz switched to the study of architecture and graduated in 1921.
Schiwetz exhibited in most of the important Texas exhibitions of the 1930s, thus placing him squarely in the Regionalist camp, if not in style then certainly in philosophy. Oddly this achievement in his repertoire has been largely overlooked. He also exhibited in the "Artists of Southeast Texas" annuals at Beaumont from 1937 through 1939 (one of the first and more important regionalist Texas art exhibitions of the late 1930s). By 1948 five Texas museums had hosted solo exhibitions for Schiwetz's work, and by the 1950s he had been showing his work regionally and nationally and winning prizes, particularly for his watercolors.
Humble Oil and Refining Company (later Exxon Company, U.S.A.) created The Humble Way magazine in 1945 to promote the areas of Texas where Humble operated. The magazine featured Schiwetz's drawings and watercolors. Its popularity prompted the company in 1952 to publish the first Texas Sketchbook, a compilation of Schiwetz drawings of Texas. Revised and enlarged editions followed in 1958 and again in 1962.
Schiwetz's interest in all types of architecture included oil-industry related structures. Blackened Wood Derricks (1951) is one of the most important mixed media Schiwetz paintings to surface in some time. It combines his interest in architectural-engineering advancements (metal derricks) with a respect for their antecedents (wooden derricks). Schiwetz juxtaposes the overgrown wooden pump jack and discarded and crumbling band wheel in the foreground (the past) with the metal tower-complete with guy wires-glittering in the distance (the future).
With the Spindletop Field watercolor, Schiwetz provides a reference point for this "series." He depicts the infamous site in the context of obsolete technologies, but includes a new type of tower at left to drive the point home. Expansion, Baytown furthers the point, depicting in exquisite architectural detail the rapidly-growing oil industry of the post-World War II era. Finally, with Oil Pumping in East Texas Schiwetz allows nature to reappear with humans and birds juxtaposed with metal valves, wheels, and pipes.
Possible paper discoloration; varnish layer; otherwise, no visible condition issues; museum matted; not examined outside of frame; framed under glass. Framed Dimensions 29.25 X 34 Inches
*Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.
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