Lea, Tom, 1907-2001Alternative names
American artist and writer.
From the description of Papers, 1889-1974 (bulk 1937-1974). (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122648373
Tom Lea, artist and writer, was born in El Paso, Texas on July 11, 1907. After displaying a natural aptitude for painting and drawing as a child, Lea received formal training at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1924 to 1926 and as apprentice and assistant to the Chicago muralist John Norton from 1927 to 1932. In 1930, Lea traveled to Italy to study the techniques of Renaissance wall painting. One of his early murals The Nesters, painted in the Post Office Department Building in Washington, D. C., won a national competition in 1935. There followed a commission to paint the mural, Pass of the North, in the United States Court House in El Paso. J. Frank Dobie commissioned Lea to illustrate two of his books from this period, Apache Gold and Yaqui Silver (1939) and The Longhorns (1940). During World War II, Life magazine hired Lea as a combination war correspondent-artist to cover the war in the Pacific.
Lea's experiences during the war supplied him with ample material as a writer, leading to the publication of A Grizzly from the Coral Sea (1944) and Peleliu Landing (1945). Lea's lifelong friend Carl Hertzog, a book designer, printed both books as well as Lea's Bullfight Manual for Spectators (1949). After the war, Lea began to write fiction, including The Brave Bulls (1949), The Wonderful Country (1952), The Primal Yoke (1960), and The Hands of Cantú (1964). The Brave Bulls won the Carr P. Collins Award of the Texas Institute of Letters for best book by a Texan, and The Hands of Cantú won the Texas Institute's Jesse Jones Award for the best work of fiction by a Texan. Both The Brave Bulls and The Wonderful Country were produced as motion pictures. Lea continued to write non-fiction, including the two-volume The King Ranch (1957), A Picture Gallery (1968), and an account of King Ranch operations in Australia, In the Crucible of the Sun (1974).
As an artist, Lea was commissioned by Life magazine in 1946 to paint a series of canvases depicting Western cattle, which Life presented to the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. In 1953, the University of Texas Press published Tom Lea: a Portfolio of Six Paintings with an Introduction by J. Frank Dobie. Lea's first large exhibition was mounted in 1961 at the Fort Worth Art Center. Lea has also had exhibitions at the El Paso Museum of Art and the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio.
Tom Lea died in 2001 in El Paso.
From the guide to the Tom Lea Papers TXRC96-A15., 1889-1974, (bulk 1937-1974), (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin)
|associatedWith||Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964.||person|
|associatedWith||Kelly, Harold Osman, 1884-1955||person|
|associatedWith||King Ranch, Inc.||corporateBody|
|correspondedWith||Marquand, John P. (John Phillips), 1893-1960||person|
|associatedWith||Public Works of Art Project (N.M.)||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||Reynolds, Jack E.||person|
|associatedWith||Sullivan, Maud Durlin, 1872-1944.||person|
|associatedWith||Texas Western Press.||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||Van Soelen, Theodore, 1890-1964,||person|
|associatedWith||Wofford, Simona Broadbent, 1884-1959.||person|
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|King Ranch (Tex.)|
|World War, 1939-1945|