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Alexandre Hogue


Alexandre Hogue painted during the Dust Bowl and Depression but, unlike many of his contemporaries, was not employed by the Works Progress Administration. Freed from any possible bureaucratic interference, he was able to pursue a project very much his own. Rather than just chronicling the plight of Midwestern farmers dispossessed and tormented by the “black blizzards” that scoured the plains, Hogue critiqued for the role these farmers had played in bringing about the Dust Bowl. Hogue attracted criticism for his critical stance but, despite vehement criticism, maintained that “Some may feel that in these paintings…I may have chosen an unpleasant subject, but after all the drought is most unpleasant. To record its beautiful moments without its tragedy would be false indeed. At one and the same time the drought is beautiful in its effects and terrifying in its results. The former shows peace on the surface but the latter reveals tragedy underneath. Tragedy as I have used it is simply visual psychology, which is beautiful in a terrifying way.” Hogue’s probing approach to art – very different from the optimistic works made by his peers – sets him apart from the other artists of the Dust Bowl. The Houston, Texas-based critic and curator Susie Kalil says, “It is impossible to think of the art of the Southwest during the past century without including Alexandre Hogue in the picture. No other Texas artist has accomplished the breadth of his work.” Alexandre Hogue was born in February 1898 in Memphis, Missouri. His family later moved to Denton, Texas, where he spent much of his youth. After graduating from high school in 1918, Hogue moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he took classes at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. After a time in Minnesota, he began working as an illustrator for the Dallas Morning News. He then moved to New York City and worked in a number of advertising firms. Hogue retained his vagabond habits and – though ostensibly a New Yorker – made regular pilgrimages back to Texas, where he would sketch with Charles Franklin Reaugh, the man who would eventually be christened the “Dean of Texas Artists.” Hogue returned to Dallas in 1925, abandoning his career in advertising, and began to paint full-time. Though wholly self-taught, Hogue began teaching summer classes at the Texas State College for Women and even headed the art department of Hockaday’s Junior College. A Dallas’s art scene, Hogue made regular trips into the American Southwest, frequenting Taos, New Mexico in particular. He found himself drawn to the culture of the region’s Native Americans. He was receptive to their perspective on Nature and on conservation and, as the 1930s progressed, began making this perspective a central component of his oeuvre. His landscapes, like the famed Mother Earth Laid Bare, displayed a startling ecocentrism. Hogue said this about the unsubtle meanings contained in his works from the 1930s: “My paintings are as much a statement of what may happen as what has happened – a warning of impending danger in terms of present conditions.” During the 1930s, Hogue was associated with a cadre of like-minded Dallas artists known as the Dallas Nine. Though the group’s membership and numbers changed frequently, it was characterized by its focus on authentically American styles and subject matter. The artists of the Nine favored Southwestern themes and self-consciously distanced themselves from the cosmopolitanism prevalent in East Coast art institutions. The Nine were popular in Texas and came to dominate the Dallas Artists League but, like many Regionalists, were eventually supplanted by the Abstract Expressionists. Hogue, who had always shied away from explicitly Regionalist themes and whose realism had always been tempered by an undercurrent of abstraction, remained popular long after the Nine had been rendered footnotes in American art history. In the aftermath of the Second World War, he began to incorporate nonobjective elements into his works. Hogue’s distance from the Regionalist perspective helped him become head of the University of Tulsa’s art department, a position which he retained until 1963. By this time, Hogue’s contributions were being recognized by the critical community. In 1976, the University of Tulsa established the Alexandre Hogue Gallery and, around the same time, his works began to find themselves into established private collections and institutions. His works can now be found in the Dallas Museum of Art, the National Collection of Fine Arts, and the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris.

Title: Across the Valley, Taos
Hogue_across the valley - Taos 1929 (20x36).ashx.png

Date: 1929
Size: 20" x 36"

Title: Turquoise (Elizabeth Page)
Hogue-Turquois, 1931 (Elizabeth Page).png

Medium: Oil on canvas 
Date: 1931
Size: 28" x 23"

Title: Desert Mesa, Big Bend
Hogue_desertMesa, Big Bend 1981.ashx.png

Date: 1981

Title: The Sophisticate
Hogue The Sophisticate, 1931.png

Date: 1931

Title: Trout Stream
Hogue_TroutStream 1946 (26x36).ashx.png

Date: 1946

Size: 26" 36"

Title: Oasis, Big Bend
Hogue_OasisBig Bend 1985 (40x56).ashx.png

Date: 1985

Size: 40" x 56"

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