Featured in the exhibition Texas Women Artists: Selections from Bywaters Special Collections, on the 2nd floor of Hamon Arts Library.
Florence McClung (1894 – 1992) was born in St. Louis, Missouri to Charles W. and Minerva White. In 1899 she moved with her parents to Dallas where in 1912 she graduated from Bryan High School. In 1917, she married Rufus A. McClung and together they made their home in Dallas. In the early 1920s McClung started her art training with prominent Dallas artists Frank Reaugh, Frank Klepper, Olin Travis, Alexandre Hogue, and Tom Stell. During the 1920s and 1930s McClung traveled to Taos, New Mexico where she painted scenes around the area, studied the pueblo Indians and their crafts, and became friends with well-known Taos luminaries Mabel Dodge and Tony Luhan. Around 1930, McClung was hired by Trinity University, then located in Waxahachie, Texas to form and head the art department, a post she maintained until 1943 when the school moved to San Antonio. On class days, McClung would drive from Dallas to Waxahachie and return each day.
McClung was a well-established artist by the late 1930s. Her painting Lancaster Valley (1936) was purchased from the New York World’s Fair by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York – the first work by a Texas artist represented at the museum up to that time. McClung’s education continued in Dallas where in 1939 she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art and English and a Bachelor of Science degree in Education at Southern Methodist University. In 1941 she studied lithography at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center with Adolph Dehn, a well-established American lithographer based in New York.
During World War II McClung’s print Home Front, was selected for inclusion in the exhibition America in the War (August 1943) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1944 her print My Son, My Son was selected from a Library of Congress exhibition for the cover of a Red Cross magazine. McClung also served as the daytime air raid warden for her street in Dallas and completed courses in Air Raids, First Aid, Nutrition, and Home Nursing.
Today McClung’s work is represented in permanent collections: Dallas Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum (New York), Library of Congress (Washington, D. C.), Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (Canyon, Texas), and High Museum (Atlanta, Georgia).
Florence McClung died at age 97 on March 15, 1992 in Dallas.
Image: Devil’s Gulch, Block print (linocut), 1976, original dimensions (image): 17” H x
Courtesy of Florence McClung Collection, Gift of Bill and Tony McClung, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University