Texas Gallery

Thanks in part to our new high-visibility website, Gallery 98 is increasingly being approached by artists and galleries who want their history to be part of our ever-expanding collection of art ephemera. Recently, we were fortunate to obtain a large collection of announcement cards from the Texas Gallery, courtesy of its principal owner Fredericka Hunter. For NY-centric art aficionados like us, the cards are an important reminder of the key role that the city of Houston played in the rise of challenging new art in the 1970s and 80s.

Houston’s embrace of art can be credited in part to John and Dominique de Menil, who were not only voracious collectors, but also the force behind Rice University’s Institute for the Arts, the Rice Media Center, the Rothko Chapel, as well as their own museum The Menil Collection. Big name contemporary artists were soon visiting Houston and the taste for innovative new art quickly spread amongst other wealthy Texans. Consequently, the 1970s saw a major expansion of Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum, as well as the opening of a number of galleries specializing in contemporary art. The Texas Gallery (originally founded as Contract Graphics in 1971), was perhaps the most significant of these galleries. It is still active today.

Texas-born Fredericka Hunter studied art history with Dominque de Menil in Houston before continuing her studies on the East Coast. Joining Contract Graphics, she helped transform it from a mere prints gallery to its rebranding as the Texas Gallery. A frequent visitor to New York, Hunter followed all the trends and consulted at first with innovative dealers like Klaus Kertess at Bykert Gallery. She also took an interest in California art after working with Ed Ruscha who introduced her to many of his friends.

View of Texas Gallery at 2439 Bissonnet St, Houston, Texas, 1974.

From the Collection