Alexandre Hogue: An American Visionary – Paintings and Works on Paper , co-curated by Susie Kalil and James Peck.
Hogue painted the fierce geology of his native southwest with passion, precision, and prophesy. The Rockwell Museum of Western Art currently features more than sixty paintings and works on paper by this giant of American art. An edited version of the more comprehensive 2010 retrospective organized by the Museum of South Texas, the Rockwell exhibition hopes to elevate Hogue from the status of Regionalist artist to his rightful place as a major twentieth century American artist.
The exhibition is drawn from 38 private and public collections throughout the United States, including the artist’s daughter Olivia Hogue Mariño, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Taking as his subject matter the plains, deserts, mountains, and other fantastic geological formations of the southwest, specifically Texas and Oklahoma, Hogue was most famous for his Dust Bowl paintings. While Hogue came of age alongside artistic masters like Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton, his fame never reached the same level. Yet by every measure, his art was just as powerful, and perhaps more prophetic, than either of these icons. These paintings take the viewer on a journey through Hogue’s diverse 70-year artistic career.
Several major periods of Hogue’s art are featured, including early works from Taos and Texas in the 1920s, the iconic Dust Bowl period of the 1930s, the lesser known post-1945 works, including several nonobjective and calligraphic one-liner paintings, as well as a large selection from the bold, final Big Bend series of the 1970s and 1980s.
Throughout his life, Hogue stuck by his innermost belief: a sense of life within the earth that endures despite man’s ravages. Each series—from the hauntingly beautiful Taos landscapes and prophetic canvases of a dust-covered Southwest to his depictions of the striking geological phenomena of the Big Bend—serves as homage to nature. Today, with the ecology of the American West more fragile than ever, Hogue’s works seem even more prescient. Their almost supernatural beauty reminds us of the power of the earth and our own somewhat tentative connection to the land.