New exhibition

New Fort Worth museum exhibition takes visitors inside the life of its namesake

Fort Worth museum exhibit takes visitors inside life of its namesake

Sid Richardson portrait
Portrait of Sid Richardson. Photo courtesy of Sid Richardson Museum
Look Magazine article Sid Richardson
A 1954 article in Look Magazine called Richardson a "Billionaire Bachelor." Photo courtesy of Sid Richardson Museum
Sid Richardson portrait
Look Magazine article Sid Richardson

The Sid Richardson Museum is getting personal for its next exhibition. "A Fortune in Oils: Sid Richardson’s Personal Collection" will display the museum namesake's own collection of Western masterworks together with letters, objects, photographs, and articles published during his lifetime.

The exhibition opens September 14 (coinciding with the end of “Another Frontier: Frederic Remington’s East”) and will run through March 2020.

"A Fortune in Oils" will weave Richardson’s personal artifacts and archival materials throughout the gallery, creating a narrative of Richardson’s life that focuses on four areas: the oil business, ranching, collecting art, and philanthropy, the museum says.

The display includes a 1954 issue of Look Magazine with an article about Richardson titled "The Case of the Billionaire Bachelor," hand-written letters, news photographs, and the Sid W. Richardson Foundation Book of Minutes from June 23, 1947-December 18, 1962.

Among the paintings in the collection is Charles M. Russell's The Buffalo Hunt, which returns to the gallery in "A Fortune in Oils" after having not been on display for more than a decade.

“This unique exhibit transcends the walls of our gallery, taking our visitors inside the life and times of Sid Richardson,” says Sid Richardson Foundation President and CEO Pete Geren in a release. “This exhibit adds another dimension to our patrons’ enjoyment and understanding of a man who helped shape the history of our community and our state, and whose legacy continues to improve the lives of countless Texans.”

Richardson (1891-1959) was known as a plainspoken and unpretentious man who amassed his wealth from West Texas petroleum and used it to pursue his interests as a cattleman, philanthropist, and collector of paintings, the museum says. He started working in the oil fields near Wichita Falls before striking it big in the Keystone field of West Texas in the late 1930s and acquiring several working ranches. He was a partner in Fort Worth-based Richardson and Bass Oil Producers.

The Ladies Home Journal once called him the wealthiest man in America, with an estimated worth of more than $700 million.

Before his death in 1959, Richardson built one of the country’s largest collections of Western masterworks, including paintings by Russell, Frederic Remington, William Robinson Leigh, Charles Schreyvogel, Frank Tenney Johnson, and Oscar E. Berninghaus.

"While Richardson primarily purchased works of art through Newhouse Galleries in New York, he occasionally bought directly from private collectors, as evidenced by two letters from Maurice Weiss on display for the first time," the release says. "Weiss knew Russell personally and sold Richardson companion paintings – The Buffalo Hunt and Returning to Camp – which are displayed in the gallery with Weiss’ letters."

The Sid W. Richardson Foundation was created in 1947 and to date has contributed more than $500 million in support of human services, education, and arts and cultural initiatives in Texas. The Sid Richardson Museum, in Fort Worth's historic Sundance Square, opened in 1982 and serves as a permanent home for the artworks acquired by Richardson between 1942 and 1959.