Thomas Stell, Jr.
Teague, Texas Post Office Mural "Cattle Roundup" by Thomas Stell, Jr.,
TE Photo, April 2009
A brief bio of
Stell Jr. 1898-1966Born
in the South Texas county seat of Cuero,
Stell attended school with classmate and friend E. M. (Buck) Schiwetz, another
Texas artist-in-the-making. Graduating in 1914 Stell worked as a draftsman in
Dallas, Chicago and New York. In the
early 1920 he was enrolled in Houston’s Rice Institute (now Rice University) where
he was art editor for the yearbook. He later moved to NYC where he got jobs as
a set designer, film technician and got his first exposure to muralism. He returned
to Texas to teach in Dallas at the Art
Institute and the Dallas Architectural Club. He then went back to New York to
study art history at Columbia and returned again to Dallas to resume teaching.
In 1934 Stell won the first of several commissions for public art – a mural installed
at Dallas’ Forest Avenue High School.
He also painted murals for Corsicana’s
Drane Library and assisted other muralists for the Texas
Centennial Exposition in 1936. He taught at San
Antonio’s Trinity University and later at the University of Texas at Austin.
He chose San Antonio as his permanent
home and worked on a variety of projects there, including the famed Riverwalk
and the base of the Tower of the Americas. He died while working on a mosaic for
the Riverwalk extension in 1966.
Known primarily as a portraitist, Stell’s
commissions are now in private collections although his post office murals can
be seen in Teague and Longview
Texas and Perry, Oklahoma. His Perry work has been moved to the county museum.
His membership in “The Dallas Nine” has insured that his work is included in Southern
Methodist University’s Bywater’s Collection. He is buried in Cuero.
by Thomas Stell, reins by M. C. Escher |
Armadillo and Whimsical Cactus||