Loving the Land: Early Texas Artist Harold A. Roney and the Legacy of the Leon Springs Art Colony

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Photograph of Leon Springs Art Colony members. c. 1929. Harold A. Roney, seated, far left. H.A. Roney Archives. Currin Family Estate.

Loving the Land: Early Texas Artist Harold A. Roney  
and the Legacy of the Leon Springs Art Colony

by Rebecca J. Martin, recipient of the 2020 Nancy and Ted Paup CASETA Research Initiative Award  

Abstract:

Highlights of Harold Arthur Roney’s (1899–1986) biography which are pertinent to his evolution as a painter who spent half of his life settled in the Leon Springs vicinity are presented in this paper. Roney’s story is ripe to explore and savor as he had a significant place in the early Texas art movement and his affiliation with the Leon Springs Art Colony between 1929 –1931 contributes to understanding his commitment to en plein air practice. A notable landscape artist, he utilized this ideal approach in teaching and remained dedicated to a classical tradition in rendering original scenes of beauty from nature.

Of particular interest at the site of the former Leon Springs Art Colony are three late nineteenth-century buildings which remain intact while other historic buildings used as studios by well-known early Texas artists have been destroyed. This once remote area is undergoing rapid development and a focused description on its significance as an art community may further validate an appeal to designate the site for posterity. For current and future generations, preservation of this place impacts our understanding of the past, inspires a love for landscape, and impresses us with the need to pass on this vital legacy as part of our artistic cultural history. 

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