Peter Rogers, Artist of Iconic Texas Mural, to Speak at State Library and Archives

Austin, TX | July 17, 2014

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Photograph of Peter Rogers in the early 1960s with scaffolding in the background

Peter Rogers with TSLAC lobby mural and scaffolding in the background, summer 1964. 989/029-1



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We are very excited that Peter Rogers is able to be with us and to recount his experiences painting this great mural and his subsequent career in art,” said Mark Smith, Director and Librarian. “This will be a unique opportunity to hear this story.

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Peter Rogers, the artist of “Texas Moves Toward Statehood,” a dramatic mural of Texas history that has been a fixture in the lobby of the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building for 50 years, will return to Austin for a public talk at the Zavala Building, Thursday, July 31, at 6 p.m. The building is located at 1201 Brazos Street, Austin, Texas, just east of the State Capitol.

Rogers, who lives in New Mexico, will speak about his experience painting the mural, his acquaintance with two governors—Price Daniel who participated in the mural’s commission, and John Connally, governor when it was completed in the summer of 1964—details of the mural, and his career in art.

The 45’ x 13’ mural depicts the events and leaders that comprise the story of Texas history from territorial settlers, through the revolutionary period, the years of the Republic, the Comanche wars and the growth of the cattle and oil industries that defined the state in the 19th and 20th centuries. Rogers reportedly exercised for weeks in advance to get into shape for the rigorous painting high above the lobby floor atop scaffolding.

The mural was originally commissioned to the artist Peter Hurd, a renowned Western artist from New Mexico and son-in-law of the noted illustrator N.C. Wyeth. Hurd passed the commission on to his new British son-in-law, Rogers, who had recently married Hurd’s daughter, Carol.

Following the painting of the mural, Rogers has had a long and renowned career working in a variety of styles and media. Rogers was recently the subject of a major retrospective of his work at the Roswell Museum and Art Center in Roswell, New Mexico.

“We are very excited that Peter Rogers is able to be with us and to recount his experiences painting this great mural and his subsequent career in art,” said Mark Smith, Director and Librarian. “This will be a unique opportunity to hear this story first hand.”

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission invited Mr. Rogers to visit Austin on the 50th anniversary of his completion of the mural. The current lobby exhibit in the Zavala Building coincides with the anniversary. Stories Behind the Mural features selected items from the Archives that illustrate stories told in this inspiring mural: life during Spanish rule, a key political figure of the Republic, a German pioneer who negotiated peace with the Native Americans, establishment of citizens' rights in a new nation, the path to statehood, and the story of the artistic vision of the mural “Texas Moves Towards Statehood” which has greeted visitors for the past 50 years.

This program is made possible by a generous gift from the Friends of Libraries & Archives of Texas. A limited quantity of high-quality versions of the mural on paper and canvas signed by the artist will be available for a contribution to the Friends of Libraries & Archives of Texas. Please rsvp at rsvp@tsl.texas.gov or (512) 463-5460.


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