Painting a vision for the Texas Centennial Exposition

'Court of Honor' on view at the Bullock Museum in Austin

June 24, 2016 (AUSTIN, TX) — An oil painting that helped Dallas clinch its role as the host city for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition is now on view at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin.

Fair Park in Dallas, home of the annual State Fair of Texas, is known today for its iconic Art Deco architecture. But in 1934, when Dallas was selected as the central exposition site for the 1936 Texas Centennial celebration, Fair Park was limited to 80 acres and a handful of buildings.

A $25 million construction project, the vision of architect George L. Dahl, transformed the existing fairgrounds into a masterpiece worthy of a world's fair. A prominent architect, Dahl (1894–1987) came to Dallas in 1926. The Dallas committee seeking to win the bid for Texas's Centennial Exposition encouraged Dahl to develop an overall architectural concept for the fair. He was highly qualified for the job. In addition to his extensive architectural and design experience across the nation, Dahl had visited and studied several major expositions.

Dahl presented a series of speculative paintings to the Texas Centennial Commission on September 6, 1934. The color renderings were romanticized visions of the Centennial Exposition designed to showcase the potential of Dallas and Fair Park.

The paintings, including Court of Honor (1934), helped Dallas win the bid. Painted by artist Eugene Gilboe, the building in Court of Honor was never actually constructed. Once Dahl was appointed chief architect for the Texas Centennial Exposition, he hired Gilboe as his "colorist."

Gilboe was responsible for developing the very sophisticated architectural color and the lighting scheme for the exhibit buildings and exterior spaces that tied everything together. Gilboe was one of more than 8,000 workers Dahl supervised to develop 200 acres of exhibit buildings and infrastructure in nine months. A team of designers worked together to finalize Dahl's vision, a complex of Art Deco style buildings with smooth expanses of sun-colored walls, brightened with murals in bold colors and accented by massive sculpture.

Today the fairgrounds he created are on the National Register of Historic Places and are the largest concentration of public Art Deco buildings in the United States.

Court of Honor will be on view at the Bullock Museum through April 30, 2017 as part of its permanent galleries highlighting the 1936 Texas Centennial. The painting is on loan from the family of George Dahl: Ted and Gloria Akin, Adrienne Akin-Faulkner, Faulkner Design Group, Dallas. The Bullock Museum collaborates with more than 700 museums, libraries, archives and individuals to display original historical artifacts and host exhibitions that illuminate and celebrate Texas history and culture.

Visit TheStoryofTexas.com, or follow the Bullock Museum on Facebook and Twitter, to learn more about the museum's exhibitions, films and programs.

 

Support for the Bullock Museum's exhibitions and education programs provided by the Texas State History Museum Foundation.

Download Media Assets

Downloads


The Bullock Texas State History Museum in downtown Austin includes three floors of exhibitions, an IMAX® theater, a special-effects theater, café and museum store. The Museum collaborates with more than 700 museums, libraries, archives and individuals to display original historical artifacts and produce exhibitions that illuminate and celebrate Texas history and culture. Named for the state's 38th Lieutenant Governor, Bob Bullock, the iconic building is at 1800 N. Congress Avenue. For more, visit TheStoryofTexas.com or call (512) 936-8746.

Lone Star Plaza

This press release is part of the The Bullock Texas State History Museum Media Kit

The Bullock Texas State History Museum is the state's official history museum and features three floors of Texas History Galleries with artifacts that span more than 13,000 years, as well as an IMAX® Theatre, a special-effects theater, convenient on-site parking, a café and Museum Store. Located in Austin, the Museum welcomes 450,000 visitors each year. Since 2001, more than 7 million visitors have been immersed in the stories of Texas, connecting historical relevance to a contemporary world. The Museum collaborates with more than 700 museums, libraries, archives and individuals to display original historical artifacts and host exhibitions that illuminate and celebrate Texas history and culture. View Media Kit