Rolla Taylor

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ROLLA TAYLOR (AM. 1872-1970)

Born in Galveston, Taylor moved in 1875 with his family to Houston, then to Cuero, where he was reared. He graduated from Cuero Institute (formerly Guadalupe Academy and later Nash Academy). About 1889, Taylor’s family moved to San Antonio where he received instruction while a teenager in an art class, established by a predecessor of the San Antonio Art League. Taylor studied in San Antonio with Jose Arpa, Theodore Gentilz, and Robert Julian Onderdonk, in San Francisco with Arthur William Best, in Sagatuck, Michigan, with Frederick Frary Fursman, and in Boston with John F. Esner; he attended summer school at the Art Institute of Chicago. Taylor taught in San Antonio, at the Texas Artists Camp in Christoval, and at the Leon Springs Artists Camp, which he helped organize. He was reportedly one of the earliest painters to work in the Big Bend area of Texas. He sketched occasionally in Mexico at Saltillo, Taxco, Cuernavaca, San Miguel de Allende, and Monterrey, around Valentine and El Paso, in the Davis Mountains, and in the Frio Canyon in Uvalde and Real counties.

Early in life Taylor had studied shorthand and became an official court reporter in the Bexar County district courts, a position he held for more then fifty years before his retirement in the 1960s. He studied law at night and in 1932, at age sixty, received a license to practice law. The Witte Memorial Museum in San Antonio named him Artist of the Year in 1954. Taylor died in a San Antonio hospital a few months after receiving a citation from the city in 1969 for his contribution to Texas painting. He was buried in San Antonio.

Taylor delighted in painting San Antonio scenes, particularly old houses, the missions, and other buildings, views along the river, the Irish Flat, and Mexican subjects and jacales. His paintings of scenes of Texas history won honors from the Texas State Historical and Landmark Association.

Source: Texas Painters, Sculptors & Graphic Artists by John and Deborah Powers

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