Things to Know About
and Champion of Texas Arts and Artists
Name: Williamson Gerald “Jerry” BywatersBy
- Born in Paris,
Texas in 1906, Bywaters was ten when the Paris Fire occurred. It was fitting
that he was later awarded the commission to paint the two
murals of the fire.
He graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1926 with a degree in comparative
literature (in 1987 SMU acknowledged his career with an honorary doctorate).
to Dallas after trips to Mexico, Spain
and France in the late 1920s, Bywaters returned to Texas
to “organize” fellow artists who shared a common interest in what was called Regional
Art. He became a spokesman for a group of young artists who lobbied to paint the
buildings at Fair Park for the Texas
Centennial. The group, known as the Dallas Nine, later grew to include numerous
other painters and sculptors.
most productive period of output was between 1937 and 1942.
Bywaters was a founding member of Lone Star Printmakers, Texas artists who produced
and published original prints of Texas themes.
Bywaters was employed as art critic for the Dallas Morning News from 1933 to 1939.
Bywaters served from 1943 to 1964 as director of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts
while teaching art and art history at Southern Methodist University.
the “Red Scare” of the 1950s, the Dallas Museum was charged with exhibiting “communist”
works. Support for the museum was threatened but under Bywaters’ direction, the
threat dissipated while the museum stood fast – placing art above politics.
never tired of producing catalogues for art exhibitions, publishing art magazines,
or editing books on art. He even used his own talent to illustrate articles on
art by other authors.
After retirement from Southern Methodist University, he became regional director
of the Texas Project of the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art.
Methodist University was bequeathed Bywaters’ personal papers and remains the
repository for Bywaters’ works and writings. He breathed art – and his contributions
to the world of Texas art came at a cost of him producing his own work. He was
married to Mary McLarry Bywaters for 58 years until his death in 1989.
on Public DisplayTexas
murals included three “standard” post office murals (Farmersville,
Trinity and Quanah) as well as panels
at the old Dallas City Hall (a collaboration with Alexandre Hogue). Four
murals are exhibited in Paris at the
city library (two depicting the Paris Fire of 1916 and the rebuilding of the city
and portraits of Davy Crockett and Cattle Baron John Chism). Murals in Houston
depicting the Houston Ship Channel are currently unavailable for viewing.
The Public Library
Gift to The Paris Public Libary
The Jerry Bywaters Family
In Memory of The Artist's Parents:
Bywaters (Honey Grove, Texas)
Porter Ashburn Bywaters, Sr. (Roxton,