Example of en plein air painting in the early 1900s.
The Texas Artists Camp in Christoval
In the 1920s Christoval was a thriving little town nestled along the banks of the Concho River. Located about 20 miles south of San Angelo, it boasted two hotels, mineral baths and the Baptist Encampment Grounds, which sometimes hosted over 8,000 worshipers in a single summer.This campground, with its rustic cabins, showers and recreational amenities housed the Texas Artists Camp from 1921 until 1927.
Frances Fisk in “A History of Texas Artists and Sculptors” described the setting in this way:
“Here on the Concho with its emerald green water and the abundant foliage of numerous trees, at an altitude of 2,000 feet, with breezes and cool nights, an ideal site is offered the artists where several weeks can be spent each summer; and where the advantage of varied outdoor sports can be enjoyed with comfortable living quarters nearby….The pecan-shaded Concho, the big groves, the hills, and the winding roads through fields of wildflowers have been the subject of many splendid sketches.”
Founded in 1921 by Mrs. Sam (Mollie) Crowther of San Angelo, the Camp grew in its seven years of existence, from a local gathering to one of the leading institutions of its kind in the Southwest. In its final year 62 men and women from 22 different places attended. The Camp emphasized the opportunities of the West as a new field for art, with this work becoming more and more appreciated and in demand.
Contributed by Mary Chatfield, Museum Researcher.