Marjorie Merriweather Post Art Collection
The Marjorie Merriweather Post Art Collectionconsists of eight 18th century to 20th century oil paintings and one 18th century pastel drawing on paper that were loaned and later gifted by Mrs. Post to South Plains College over a span of eight years, from 1965 to 1973. In establishing the collection at SPC, Mrs. Post desired to provide college students and the citizens of the South Plains region access to a cross-section of classical art styles, artists and periods that she appreciated and enjoyed.
Mrs. Post’s association with South Plains College actually began in 1957 when the newly established college purchased 177 acres (one labor of land) from the Oxsheer-Double U Ranch on which to build its Levelland campus. C.W. Post, the originator of General Foods Corp., purchased the Oxsheer Ranch in Hockley County in 1906. As his only heir, Mrs. Post inherited the ranch when her father died in 1914. When oil was discovered on the ranch in the late 1930s, Mrs. Post was known to make annual trips to the ranch to negotiate oil leases with major production companies.
Mrs. Post kept watch on the young, growing South Plains College. In 1964, Dr. Marvin L. Baker, president of the college at the time, and art professor Don Stoud wrote Mrs. Post asking her to loan one painting from her collection for display and study in the college’s newly constructed Fine Arts Building. Her concern for the importance of young people to become art admirers and enthusiasts prompted her to offer to loan the college three works of art from her extensive collection. The first three pieces arrived in February 1965, on loan for a two-year period. In December of the same year, Mrs. Post gifted three additional paintings to the college to form the beginnings of the Post Art Collection.
Over the next three years, Mrs. Post would arrange for a total of 13 classical paintings to be loaned or given to the college. Among the pieces were four works of art she arranged on loan from the National Collection of Fine Art of the Smithsonian Institution that included The Holy Family and St. Elizabeth by the notable Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens. These works arrived in June 1967 and remained on campus until May 1974. Following the death of Mrs. Post on September 12, 1973 at age 86, the Smithsonian Institution requested their return.
Over the course of 44 years, the paintings of the Post Collection hung in the original Student Center, the Library and the Fine Arts Building. Because of the size of the paintings, the entire collection has never been displayed in one location, until now. The construction of the 1,750 square foot art gallery addition to the Christine DeVitt Fine Arts Center in 2008 provided a permanent home for this unique collection that has awed, inspired and intrigued thousands of students and art patrons on the dusty plains of West Texas.
South Plains College and it's Fine Art Department is deeply indebted to the generosity of Marjorie Merriweather Post in providing this collection of fine art and allowing students and the community alike to experience and appreciate art in the way she did during her lifetime.
For information about the Post Art Collection and other scheduled exhibitions, contact:
Julia (Kathy) Whiteside, Post Collection Curator
South Plains College Fine Arts Department
1401 S. College Ave.
Levelland, TX 79336
(806) 716-2261, (806) 716-2270