Harold Bugbee

Harold Bugbee

Harold Dow Bugbee (American, 1900-1963)


Clarendon, Canyon. Landscape, genre, and portrait painter, illustrator, muralist, graphic artist, sculptor. 


            A native of Lexington, Massachusetts, Bugbee came to Texas in 1912 to live on a ranch near Clarendon. He graduated from Clarendon High School, attended Clarendon College (1917) and Texas A&M College, College Station (1918), then graduated from the Charles Cummings School of Art, Des Moines, Iowa (1921). He also studied in New York City. After returning to Clarendon about 1922, Bugbee painted regularly with members of the Taos art colony in New Mexico.


            Known for his portrayals of ranch life, Bugbee was an illustrator of books and magazines and a painter of historical portraits. He illustrated J. Evetts Haley’s Charles GoodnightCowman and Plainsman (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1936) and worked with Haley in the production of several other historical works. Bugbee’s Illustrations often appeared on the covers of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Review between 1929 and 1962, in pulp magazines, and in Country GentlemanQuarter Horse JournalProgressive FarmerThe Cattleman, and Field and Stream magazines. He taught at the Palo Duro School of Art, Canyon, and in 1951 became part-time curator of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon. Bugbee died in Clarendon, survived by his second wife, Olive Vandruff Bugbee. A re-creation of his studio as it existed at the time of his death is on permanent exhibit at the panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. 

            The important things in Bugee’s professional life were the integrity of his work and his continuous dedication, from boyhood, to painting the people, the animals and the breathtaking places of the Southwest of the period 1850 to about 1920 [Robinson].



1936               Fort Worth Frontier Centennial Exposition

1937               Annual Texas Artists Exhibition, Fort Worth

1940               Exhibition of paintings by Texas Artists , J. W. Young Galleries, Chicago

1953               Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon

1961               Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon

1970               Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon

1987               Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon

1994               Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon

1992               Nita Stewart Haley Library, Midland

1993               Cattlemen’s Museum, Fort Worth 

1997               Hock Shop Collection: Rediscovering Texas Artists of the Past, Museum of the Big Bend, Alpine

                        Findler Gallery, Chicago

                        Feragil Art Galleries, New York



·      Amarillo Hotel and Herring Hotel, Amarillo

·      Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon

·      Hall of State, Fair Park, Dallas

·      National Museum of American Art, Washington, D. C. (two of three murals formerly at Amarillo Army Airfield)



            J. Wayne Stark University Center Galleries

            Texas A&M University, College Station


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