The Hock Shop Collection: Reflections From the ... - UNT Art Gallery

The Hock Shop Collection: Reflections From the ... - UNT Art Gallery


The Hock Shop Collection:

Reflections From the Heart and Soul

5/16 - 6/20/2009

Photo by Jeff Prince


Mr. A.C. “Ace” Cook

The Collection Story...

The Hock Shop Collection was not made up of paintings that came into the pawn shop. The name is a play of words. What influenced

the Hock Shop Collection was my customers—the working people of this state, black, white, brown—decent hard working people who

were not as fortunate as others but were still great people. My whole thinking was inspired by what Ed [Denari] told me early on, if you

can’t walk by a piece of art every day and get something from it—when you start walking by it, not stopping to look—then it’s not for

you. It may be for someone else, but it’s not for you.”

Ruth Pershing Uhler, Decoration: Red Haw Trees, November, 1932, Oil on canvas, 40 x 52

“I don’t like doom and gloom. What is, is

what is. I can’t change that, but I can damn

sure try a different outlook. I don’t want

to fight a battle with gloom and doom.

Is the glass a little bit over half full? Yes,

and we’re going to fill it up. And that’s

what I’ve tried to do in looking at my art.

Paintings of our early African American

people, our early Spanish people, our early

white stoop-working people—the dignity

that the artists in my collection showed

these people in their paintings—Texas

artists were the very first to do this. It was

our artists who fought the early battle of

segregation. The artists I gravitate toward

painted with an over half-full glass.”

“If you could only own one piece of Texas art, period,

you would own a Salinas. It just doesn’t matter

what the others are, but you would own a Salinas.”

Porfirio Salinas,

Road to Hondo,

1940, Oil on

canvas, 30 x 36

“What about the greatest piece of regionalist art

in this collection? What do you think is the rarest,

most overlooked and misunderstood painting in

this room? There are only about 20 of Uhler’s

paintings known. She lived with Georgia O’Keeffe

in the 1930’s. It’s been said this painting rivals

anything that O’Keeffe ever painted, and it does.

It’s considered her masterpiece.

This painting was in bad shape when we got it in

Houston. The salt iron and the harsh conditions

down there had taken their toll. This piece was

exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

It was one of the primary pieces in ‘Woman Artists

of the American West.’ It’s the crown jewel of the


Margaret Stites, Carol, 1955, Terra cotta, 22 x 12 x 10

San Angelo artist Margaret Adelle Stites

was a force at Angelo State University,

where she taught from 1948 to 1952.

She earned degrees from UT Austin and

Cranbook Academy of Art, and in 1958

received the Louis C. Tiffany Foundation

grant, allowing her to study throughout

Europe. Ms. Stites passed away shortly

after her 2003 solo exhibition opened

at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts.

Ace’s Pyramid Analogy on Building a Collection...

“Visualize what it takes to build a pyramid.

You’ve got to have a good base, and

you’ve got to have strong corner pieces that

support the massive weight as you build

up. The corner pieces are the essence of

your art collection. If you don’t have good

corners, then the collection is just not going

to hold up, period. With great corner

pieces a collection can also include pieces

of lesser importance, and they make the

pyramid. They fit in the pyramid. Without

a base and without corner pieces – without

a plan – you’re not going to build a good

art collection. By the time you get it built,

the Pharaoh takes one look at it and you’re

through as a builder.

I was very fortunate. I got some great,

great, great, great cornerstones: the big

Dawson-Watsons, the Douglas Chandor of

Alfonso Harrison, Frank Reigh’s Margaret’s

Peak, Kathleen Blackshear’s Ruby Lee and

Loula May Washington, a tremendous

piece exhibited in the 1936 Texas Centen-

Blackshear’s painting

was exhibited at the

1936 Texas Centennial

Exposition in Dallas. It

exemplifies the diverse

subject matter that has

been such an important

element in building the


nial Exposition. We have five Centennial

paintings in this collection. All of them are

great pieces that fit and support what we

are trying to do. Then we’ve got three or

four pieces that were exhibited in the 1937

Pan American Exposition. Here again,

they fit and work so well in this pyramid.

Then there are works by African American

women artists, which are rare in the state

during this time. These pieces fit beautifully

because of who the artists are and what

they’ve created. Then we have one work by

a Native American from Oklahoma by the

name of Maggie Lemon Schwartz.

You see, you don’t have to have a great

Julian Onderdonk. Certainly he could

have fit into my pyramid, but I could do so

much more and cut so much more stone

than if I had taken my builders and moved

them down into the quarry to cut up an

Onderdonk. I had great pieces already, so

I decided let’s keep building the pyramid

with great small pieces. You just can’t use

“If you ask me if the collection’s complete, I’d say it’s never

complete. You’re always looking for a great image.”

Kathleen Blackshear, Ruby Lee

and Loula Mae Washington, 1932,

Oil on canvas, 40 x 30

“This is the most highly decorated painting in

private hands. In 1928 Dawson-Watson entered

“Flowers of Silk” in the 2nd Edgar B. Davis

Wildflower competition, hosted at the Witte

Memorial Museum in San Antonio. It won

Hors de Concours, which literally says this painting

is too good to be judged. The award was given only

one time by the San Antonio Art League. The

painting has the original plaque on the back. It

couldn’t take first place, so they made it the

highest decorated painting in the state, bar none.

It’s an atmosphere painting, the way the French

would paint. It was painted on the Gallagher Ranch

northwest of San Antone. Dawson-Watson moved

out to California in the late 1930s or early 40s,

and the painting stayed out there until my friend

down in San Antone called me and I bought it.”

all major pieces in the pyramid, or you’ll

never get the damn thing built. My collection

values diversity. For example, you’ve

got to have a great Salinas, the Mexican

artist, and they don’t come cheap. So if

you’re spending time in the quarry trying

to cut out a pretty good Onderdonk, when

you could have gone ahead and bought a

tremendous 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942 Salinas

– that’s the peak, that’s where you want it,

1939 up to about 1944, 1945 – this is the

piece you want to slip into the pyramid,

because when the sun comes up and the

Pharaoh sees it, it’s like a god. A Salinas

will do that to a good collection.

Collecting is about whacking and trimming

around and working on the pyramid.

You continually think: if I could just find

this person here and get a good piece, I’d

pull this one out and put the new one in

and take that one and put it somewhere

else. I wouldn’t get rid of it, but I’d move it

up here where it looks best.”

“Thrash was probably the very first black woman to ever exhibit in the state of Texas.

She exhibited her work for the first time in the annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition in 1935

because [fellow artist] Olin Travis was a real segregationist. He sponsored her, and the

papers fussed over a “negro” being in the show. She wasn’t included in another exhibit until

1945 at the Dallas Museum of Fine Art, and that’s this piece called ‘Bear Lake.’ I bought

this from her sister, who was still alive. Thrash only exhibited twice, and this was the last

exhibit piece that she did.”

Dawson Dawson-Watson,

Flowers of Silk, 1928,

Oil on canvas, 40 x 30

Rezalia C. Thrash, Bear Lake, c. 1945, Watercolor on paper, 13 3/8 x 20

Unknown Artist (Holmes), Untitled (The Water Hole), 1934, Oil on canvas, 23 x 48

“Every good collection should have a wreath to the unknown soldier. This is the most popular

painting in the Bull Ring. People gravitate to it. You can’t find the artist anywhere, but it’s

a fantastic painting. It’s a very difficult painting to do. It would be out at West Texas, of a

rancher. Instead of oil they gave him a water well, which was worth more to him. It’s just a

fabulous painting. It came out of a garage sale in Fort Worth.”

UNT continues our relationship

with Mr. A. C. “Ace” Cook…

UNT’s connection with A. C. Cook began over a decade ago

when The Hock Shop Collection: Rediscovering Texas Artists

of the Past was shown at the Greater Denton Art’s Council’s

Meadows Gallery in 1998. Dr. D. Jack Davis, Dean of the School

of Visual Arts, met Ace at that show and brought him to the

University. In 2004, Ace lectured to Dr. Jennifer Way’s

Art History class in Modernism and Visual Arts.

I first met Ace in 2006, when Peggy Howell, the Development

Director for the School, arranged for us to meet at the Bull Ring

in Fort Worth. I have been enthralled by Ace, the collection,

and his wonderful stories ever since. It’s an honor and privilege

to have the works back in Denton, and Ace back at UNT.

Dr. Robert Milnes, Dean, College of Visual Arts and Design

This exhibition connects the artists’

paintings, their passionate collector, and

the interested gallery audience...

For graduate art education and art history

student Heather White, the collection and

exhibition provide the opportunity to form

an extraordinary thesis based on viewing

the artworks and hearing Mr. Cook

retell the stories of his collection. For the

gallery’s international audience, it may be

a first experience with the wealth of Texas

art in its early days. For me, it represents a

moment of full circle. I have been delighted

to meet Mr. A.C. Cook and his daughter

Charlene Cook Lindstrom—to see their

respect for one another and their shared

awe at the talent and sincerity of the artists

they’ve known. As a non-native Texan, my

first encounter with early Texas art took

place in 2001. I became familiar with the

works of iconic Texas artist Frank Reaugh,

who took his students on painting trips

to Central and West Texas. Through this

exhibition I am excited to be reacquainted

with the beauty of the state’s landscapes

and people, and with the well-informed

early Texas art community.

Photo by Jairo Salazar

Mr. Cook built his legendary collection

with the spirit of Texas that fills his soul

and guides him to artists who “make art

with an over half-full glass.” The Hock

Shop Collection: Reflections from the Heart

and Soul tells Cook’s story of collecting

and connects the experience of early

Texas artists with that of today’s vital

North Texas art communities.

We are deeply grateful to the Cook family

for sharing their passion with us and

for their hospitality as we organized the

exhibition. Heartfelt thanks go to Morris

Matson for his knowledge and his help

coordinating details, to Bill Mackey for

his generous assistance at the Bull Ring,

to Kevin Vogel, Edmund Pillsbury, Neal

Small, Ellen Niewyk and Sam Ratcliff for

sharing information and encouragement,

to UNT President Gretchen Bataille for

her inspiring leadership and to the gallery

staff for making the project a success.

Tracee W. Robertson, Director, UNT Art Gallery

The Bull Ring, Fort Worth Stockyards

My appreciation for

the experience…

A.C. Cook is one of those rare individuals

who is openly honest about his loves

and beliefs. This authenticity is at times

intimidating, and always fascinating.

A.C.’s passion for life is contagious. He

is a master storyteller, who at his core

is the best kind of teacher—one that

inspires his learners. A.C.’s tangible

passion for his collection reminds us

that passions are worth pursuing; his

larger-than-life personality inspires us

to make every day and every action

count; and his strong values remind us

to find and stand by our ideals.

Mr. Cook daily creates a lasting legacy

through his monumental collection and

through the authentic connections he

makes with many people. I have been

extremely privileged to know and learn

from him. In the exhibition, look for the

common threads and stories that tie

artworks together, and there you will

find the soul of the Hock Shop Collection

and the heart of A.C. Cook.

Heather White, Graduate Student,

Art Education/Art History



A.C. “Ace” Cook and Vick Roper

Working Notes (the bible), 1980 – present

Typed notes, flyers, news clippings, exhibition

brochures related to The Hock Shop


Artist Unknown

(signed “Holmes” lower right)

Untitled (the water hole), 1934

Oil on canvas

Photographer Unknown

Portrait of bootleggers, c. 1919


Photographer Unknown

Portrait of a man with a cotton ball lapel,

c. 1920


Photographer Unknown

Depression portrait of two brothers, c. 1920


Photographer Unknown

Black Texas Cowboy, c. 1880


Photographer Unknown

Black Gambler, c. 1927


Harding Black

Ceramic Pots, 1965


Rosalie Dalsheimer Berkowitz

Fourteen, 1943

Pencil on paper

Kathleen Blackshear

Ruby Lee and Loula Mae Washington, 1932

Oil on canvas

Exhibited Texas Centennial Exposition, 1936

George Edward “Pepper” Brown

Untitled (little dogies), c. 1949

Oil on canvas

Adele L. Brunet

Mexican Strummer, 1938

Oil on canvas

Douglas G. Chandor

Alfonso Harrison, 1933

Oil on canvas

Alice Chilton

Mission, c. 1950

Oil on canvas

Alice Chilton

Soliloquy (portrait of an Italian girl), 1961


R. S. Clement

4th of July Celebration (New York KKK)

Jamaica, Long Island, 1928


Carl Benton Compton

Donna of the Prairie, 1932

Oil on canvas

Mildred Norris Compton

Black Madonna, 1937

Color crayon

Reid Crowell

Lady from the Street, 1935

Pencil and charcoal on paper

Frederick E. Darge

Untitled (the crucifixion), 1940

Oil on canvas

Mary Sue Darter

Art Deco Nude, 1922

Oil on canvas

Dawson Dawson-Watson

Flowers of Silk, 1928

Oil on canvas

Hors de Concours

Dawson Dawson-Watson

Fredericksburg Peach Shed, 1916

Oil on canvas

Wanda de Turcynowicz

Penny? (Santa Fe Bridge Scene), 1950

Oil on canvas board

Harry Anthony de Young

The Ice House, Rockport, 1934

Oil on canvas

William Curtis Elliot

Man from the Street, 1935

Pencil on paper

William Curtis Elliot

Workers, Dallas, 1939


Frank Fisher

Still Life with Green Grapes, 1939

Oil on canvas board

1st Place “The Local,” Fort Worth Library

and Art Museum, 1939

Eugene Goldbeck

Grand Entry, Fred Beebe’s Rodeo (Dallas

Drum and Bugle Corps, KKK)

San Antonio, 1924


Robert Graham

Construction, 1952

Mixed media

Willie Guest

Working Hard, 1939

Oil on canvas

Lura Ann Taylor Hedrick

Mushrooms, 1936

Oil on canvas

Exhibited Texas Centennial Exposition, 1936

William Henry Huddle

Peasant Woman, c. 1885

Oil on canvas

John Eliot Jenkins

First Light, near Austin, 1910

Oil on canvas

Frank Albert Jones

Pappy’s Devil House, c. 1952

Color pencil on paper

Lois Neville Kelly

The Cowboy, Ben Avila, 1932

Oil on canvas

Harry Kidd

Spanish Madonna, 1922

Oil on canvas

Lucile Land Lacy

Siblings, c. 1940

Oil on board

William Lester

Mount Hill Church, 1935


Mirium Allertson Lowrance

Motherhood, 1935

Oil on canvas

Peter Heinrich Mansbendel

Art Deco Head, c. late 1920s

Wood carving

M. Maurer

2nd Annual Pageant of Pulchritude and 8th

Annual Bathing Girl Review,

May 1927, Galveston


M. Maurer

3rd International Pageant of Pulchritude and

9th Annual Bathing Girl Review,

June 1928, Galveston


M. Maurer

Lily Langtree (studio portrait series), 1888


Florence Elliott White McClung

Jackson’s Gin, 1937

Oil on canvas

Exhibited Greater Texas and Pan American

Exposition, 1937

Clara Williamson McDonald

Self Portrait, 1948

Oil on board

Blanche McVeigh

Evening Meeting (study for lithograph), 1941


Clara Pancoast

Don Carlos (the godfather), 1927

Oil on canvas

Charles Franklin Reaugh

Margaret’s Peak, 1909

Oil on canvas

Porfirio Salinas

Road to Hondo, 1940

Oil on canvas

E. M. “Buck” Schiwetz

Cotton Pickers, c. 1935

Gouache on canvas board

May Schow

Mexican Girl, 1935

Oil on canvas

Exhibited Texas Centennial Exposition, 1936

Paul Richard Schumann

Chocolate Bayou, Galveston, 1936

Oil on canvas

Maggie Lemon Schwartz

Austin’s Farmers Market, 1930


Exhibition in the UNT Art Building

1201 W Mulberry

Gallery Hours

Tues - Wed 12-8 Thu - Sat 12-5

Summer: Tues - Sat 12-5

940-565-4005 ~

1155 Union Circle # 305100

Denton, Texas 76203-55017

Ethel Spears

Rockport, 1950


Coreen Mary Spellman

Rose’s Workbox, c. 1932

Oil on canvas

Thomas Matthew Stell

Highland Park Girl, c. 1930

Oil on board

Margaret Stites

Man, c. late 1930s

Limestone with wood base

Margaret Stites

Slender Girl, 1954

Redwood with wood base

Margaret Stites

Carol, 1955

Terra cotta with wood base

Franz Seraphim Strahalm

Road from San Antonio to Austin, 1922

Oil on canvas

Stephen Seymour Thomas

General Lew Wallis, 1904

Oil on board

Rezalia C. Thrash

Bear Lake, c. 1945


Olin H. Travis

Jukebox Lady, c. 1950

Oil on canvas board

Olin H. Travis

Tom, 1937

Oil on canvas

Olin H. Travis

Mammon (destructive forces), 1933

Oil on masonite

Ruth Pershing Uhler

Decoration: Red Haw Trees, November, 1932

Oil on canvas

Julius Woeltz

Slum Clearance, 1951

Mixed media

Samuel Peters Ziegler

The Art Student, 1967

Oil on canvas

All works are loaned from the Hock Shop Collection. All dimensions are in inches.

Artwork photos by Chad Redmon. Brochure design by Karen SG Milnes.

U N Tgalleries


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