In the spring of 2009, I received a telephone call from Atlee Phillips, Texas art specialist at Dallas’s Heritage Auction Galleries.  Although I’d never met Atlee, she told me that I’d soon think of her as “my new best friend.”  A few days later, she arrived in my office with numerous photographs of a painting of the Battle of San Jacinto by Texas painter Henry Arthur McArdle (1836-1908).  Although I knew that this painting had been executed in 1901, I had assumed it to have been destroyed in a fire and had stated as much in a footnote in my 1992 book, Painting Texas History to 1900.  But Atlee’s photographs, taken by members of McArdle’s family, who owned the house in West Virginia where the painting had been stored in an attic since the 1950s, proved me wrong (fortunately).  In November 2010, Heritage auctioned the painting, which was purchased by a private collector in Texas. Continue reading “Strange inheritance”