My father passed away back in 1997 and there are times I long to hear his voice again. He was a wonderful story teller, which is not something I appreciated when he was alive. Early on when it became clear to him that I was going to follow in his shoes in the arts, he thought it was of the up most importance that I understood who it was that paved the way for him to make a life in the arts and thus mine. Of the many early Texas artist my father spoke about, he spoke fondly of Vivian Louise Aunspaugh.
This is from an entry in one of my father’s sketch books from the mid-1940’s he wrote,
“Tonight I began thinking of Miss Aunspaugh. Somehow I think my best training was from her. Not so much from her school – as her herself. A gentle old sweet lady who somehow knows of greatness- she could dig up models of marvelous qualities – clean wholesome faces. I started one figure composition under her and had I not destroyed it, I believe it would have been on of my best”.
All the time I was growing up my father said that he had somewhere, an interview with Miss Aunspaugh on a wire recorder. He could never put his hands on it and it became like a folk legend about this mythical interview in our household. It never turned up while my father was living but my mother recently discovered it as she was cleaning out somethings. Not sure of the dates of this interview but my mother believes it was conducted during one of her visits to the museum during a State Fair of Texas. My father would have been a guard at the museum and in his twenties. There are other voices yet to be identified yet on the recording as well. Being a very old recording, it isn’t the greatest quality but it’s certainly worth a listen. After all Vivian Louise Aunspaugh exhibited at the Expo Universelle, Paris, France, in 1900 and received a gold medal and then came back to Texas and started an art school.
So tonight I got to hear my father’s voice and to hear Miss Aunspaugh’s as well. What a treat. I want to thank my mother for finding this wonderful bit of history and getting it restored and transferred to digital media and for allowing me to share it in this way.
Here is the online pdf of the catalog from the show “Metropolitan Museum Loan of 30 Old Masters” exhibition at the DMFA, Oct. 4th thru Nov. 23rd, 1947. I am thinking this is the show that Miss Auspaugh was responding to during this interview.