Fine art tourist: BISTTRAM AT THE Panhandle plains historical museum (pphm)

The PPHM is located on the campus of West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. The museum is dedicated to preserving all facets of the history of the Texas Panhandle Plains region of Texas. The museum houses exhibits on the petroleum industry, paleontology, archeology, geography, art and history. This museum literally has something for everyone.

We toured the museum but must admit to a keen interest in seeing the exhibit of modernist paintings by Emil Bisttram. We had seen his works previously at other museums featuring the works of Taos, New Mexico artists – most recently at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Montana.

Symphony in Blue, 1963 Oil on Masonite

This exhibit of Bisttram’s work features paintings from the latter part of his career. The paintings are dramatically different from his earlier work in Taos. Below is a photograph of one his landscapes completed in 1931.

Storm Over Taos, 1931
Celestial Structures, 1959 Enamel on Masonite

“I am always experimenting. As I paint today may not be the way I’ll paint next month. I’m always studying and I hope always growing.” — Emil Bisttram

Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1960 Enamel on Masonite

While we are not usually fans of abstract work, we enjoyed this exhibit. Perhaps because we are familiar with Bisttram’s earlier work, or perhaps because these later paintings, while abstract, contain more recognizable forms. Regardless, we admire his precision and use of color.

Waterfall, 1959 Acrylic on Canvas
Winter, 1959

We think the PPHM is absolutely worth a visit if you are planning to be in the Amarillo/Canyon area. And, as frosting on the cake, Palace Coffee’s original cafe is less than a ten minute walk from the museum.

Palace Coffee, Canyon

Lastly, it is a short drive from Canyon to the spectacular Palo Duro Canyon which you can enjoy by hiking or touring by automobile.

Palo Duro Canyon

Be seeing you.

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