www.canyonleap.com THE FIRST BIOGRAPHY ON COLORADO’S
LEADING 20TH CENTURY MURALIST,
ALLEN TUPPER TRUE
IS PUBLISHED San Francisco, CA – Allen Tupper True: An American Artist, by Jere True and Victoria Tupper Kirby and published by Canyon Leap, San Francisco, California, in association with Museum of the Rockies, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, in 2009, is the first definitive biography of Allen Tupper True. The book traces the artist’s life from his earliest beginnings in Colorado. The book relies on letters, diaries, and contemporary news accounts as well as family history to describe True’s artistic evolution from illustrator to easel painter to muralist of the first order. This biography is lavishly illustrated with 121 color plates and 81 black-and-white images. They include images of most of True’s murals (both extant and destroyed), a selection of his major easel paintings, as well as some of his sketches and cartoons and Indian-inspired designs, and photographs of True working and his friends, family, homes and studios.
Allen Tupper True was a Westerner who embraced his heritage as the source and inspiration for his paintings. “No artist, east or west, was more sincerely devoted to or genuinely effective at exploring the pictorial dimensions of Western subjects than the Colorado painter Allen Tupper True. . . . Allen True would live, work, and thrive as an artist for half a century. His early creative life as an illustrator and painter not only established the foundation that shaped his career as a muralist, but also stands alone as a remarkable artistic achievement. His mural and decorative embellishments for monumental architectural projects throughout the West affirm his role as an artist of profound importance and extraordinary breadth of vision,” asserts Peter H. Hassrick, distinguished art historian and Director of the Institute of Western Art at the Denver Art Museum, in the foreword of Allen Tupper True: An American Artist.
True found his ultimate calling as a muralist, and his work ornaments public and private buildings throughout the West, including capitol buildings in Colorado, Wyoming, and Missouri.
Written by True’s daughter Jere True and his granddaughter Victoria Tupper Kirby, the book has the charm of a personal memoir that is greatly enhanced by its scholarly underpinnings. The story of Allen Tupper True’s life and work is truly an American story that deserves to take its place in the panoply of American art history.
True’s biography has received glowing pre-publication reviews. Here are some excerpts from those by leading American art scholars and a newspaper arts editor.
“Allen Tupper True’s paintings, murals, and illustrations constitute an impressive Colorado contribution to the nation’s art. The works and their maker are here recalled by those who knew him best, in a distinctive appreciation, blending art and regional history with family letters and lore.”
Dr. Charles Eldredge, Hall Distinguished Professor of American Art and Culture, Kress Foundation Department of Art History, Museum of Art, University of Kansas
“The biography of artist Allen Tupper True shares valuable lessons on the growth, training, and struggles of a 20th-century American illustrator and muralist. But True was not merely an artist, illustrator, muralist. Allen Tupper True extended the concept of the artistic decoration of public buildings to create breath-taking ornamentation for a variety of civic structures. At Boulder Dam, True used the coloration and motifs from Southwestern Indian tribal sources to create a unified design concept for an industrial building: from the terrazzo panels’ Indian motifs surrounding floor drains to the appropriate color harmonies of the structure’s interior spaces.”
Joyce K. Schiller, Curator, American and Illustration Art, Delaware Art Museum
“This thoroughly documented biography of Allen Tupper True is a treasure trove of information about one of Colorado’s most important painters. Especially valuable are the large number of color illustrations, particularly the murals for which True was noted. Relying on family letters, diaries, and other primary sources, his story has been told by two very accomplished writers, who also happen to be his daughter and granddaughter.”
Suzan Campbell, Curator of Western Art, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art
“The interest in artists identified with certain states has increased dramatically over the past twenty years. Studies of Regionalism (and regionalism) have broadened our perspective and deepened our appreciation for ‘home-grown’ talents, particularly in the Southwest, with especial attention focused on New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado. With this monograph on Allen Tupper True, we gain a far greater and broader understanding of this fine artist’s seat in Colorado’s artistic pantheon, and it also expands our comprehension of True’s seminal place in the history of art of the American West.”
Michael R. Grauer, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs, Curator of Art, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
“Allen Tupper True: An American Artist recalls, in amazing detail, True’s own creative awakening and his crucial role in creating and recording the region’s rich history. True’s inclusive vision brought overdue dignity to the region’s earliest inhabitants. His groundbreaking murals of Western vistas made the region a more beautiful place and served as giant documentaries about a disappearing way of life. This book should go a long way toward introducing True to the wider audience he deserves.”
Ray Rinaldi, Arts Editor, Denver Post
Co-author Jere True (1919-1999), eldest daughter of Allen Tupper True, began her writing career as a reporter for the Denver Post and drama and music critic and feature writer for Empire Magazine, the Post’s longtime Sunday magazine. She then was a stringer for the New York Daily News and a correspondent for the International News Service, covering the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Later in life, she wrote a column for the Healdsburg Tribune in California and a biography of Nina Lektorsky, a Russian opera singer.
Jere True served as Aspen, Colorado’s publicity director in 1949-1950, mounting the first Goethe Festival and handling publicity for the restoration of the Opera House and the 1950 Federation International de Ski. She was vice president of Charles von Loewenfeldt & J.T. True Inc. in San Francisco, California, in the 1950s. Her firm handled the affairs of several well-known Japanese clients, including Japan Air Lines and the Consul General of Japan.
Jere True graduated from Rosemary Hall, attended Bryn Mawr, the University of Florence in Italy, and the University of Innsbruck in Austria. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of San Francisco.
Co-author Victoria Tupper Kirby (born 1940), Allen True’s granddaughter and Jere True’s daughter, worked as a public relations consultant for more than twenty-five years in the San Francisco Bay area. Kirby was a theater critic, photographer, and translator for The Drama Review in the 1970s, and translated manifestos and plays for Futurist Performance by Michael S. Kirby, originally published by E.P. Dutton in 1971, and reprinted by Performing Arts Journal Publications in l987. She also has written numerous articles published in the United States and Europe. In addition, Kirby has been a theater producer, a professional singer, and performance artist. She is an exhibited painter and printmaker and her artwork is in private collections in the U.S., Mexico, Australia, and Europe.
Three exhibitions of Allen True’s work and life, all titled Allen True’s West, will open in Denver, Colorado on October 2, 2009, and run through March 328, 2010. The Denver Art Museum’s Petrie Institute of Western American Art will exhibit thirteen of True’s major easel paintings; the Denver Main Public Library’s Western History/Genealogy Department will focus on his illustrations for magazines and books; and the Colorado History Museum will feature several of True’s murals as well as a number of studies for public murals. After Denver, a traveling exhibition featuring selections from the three Allen True’s West shows will travel to eight additional museums in the western region.
Denver’s Colorado Public Television - KBDI-12 PBS is producing an hour-long documentary on Allen Tupper True’s life, times and artistic achievements, also titled Allen True’s West, which will be broadcast beginning in the fall of 2009. A DVD of the program and additional material will be available for sale as well.
Allen Tupper True: An American Artist
By Jere True and Victoria Tupper Kirby
512 pages, 121 color plates & 81 black & white photos
Publication month: March 2009
ISBN: 978-0-9817238-0-8 and 0-9817238-0-2 (casebound)
978-0-9817238-1-5 and 0-9817238-1-0 (paperback)
Library of Congress Control Number: 2008930023
Price: $50 casebound; $25 paperback
Published by: Canyon Leap, in association with the Museum of the Rockies, Montana State University