“A Fortune in Oils: Sid Richardson’s Personal Collection” Debuts at Sid Richardson Museum in Fort Worth
Special exhibit features a rarely seen look at the life of the man dubbed the “billionaire bachelor”
(FORT WORTH, TX) – The Sid Richardson Museum is presenting a special exhibit to give visitors a more personal look at its namesake, Sid Williams Richardson. The limited-run exhibit, A Fortune in Oils: Sid Richardson’s Personal Collection, will debut September 14, 2019 and will be on display through March 2020.
A Fortune in Oils interweaves Richardson’s personal collection of Western masterworks with letters, objects, photographs and articles published during his lifetime. These artifacts and archival materials are positioned throughout the gallery, creating a rich narrative of Richardson’s life with four areas of emphasis: the oil business, ranching, collecting art, and philanthropy.
“This unique exhibit transcends the walls of our gallery, taking our visitors inside the life and times of Sid Richardson,” said Sid Richardson Foundation President and CEO Pete Geren. “This exhibit adds another dimension to our patrons’ enjoyment and understanding of a man who helped shape the history of our community and our state, and whose legacy continues to improve the lives of countless Texans.”
Plainspoken and unpretentious, Richardson was once described by the Ladies Home Journal as the wealthiest man in America with an estimated worth of more than $700 million. He amassed his wealth from West Texas petroleum and used it to pursue his interests as a cattleman, philanthropist and collector of paintings. Richardson built one of the country’s largest collections of Western masterworks including paintings by Charles M. Russell, Frederic Remington, William Robinson Leigh, Charles Schreyvogel, Frank Tenney Johnson and Oscar E. Berninghaus, among others.
Richardson began working in the oil fields near Wichita Falls, Texas in 1911, learning the business from the ground up before striking it big in the Keystone field of West Texas in the late 1930’s. Once his fortune was established, Richardson acquired several working ranches. He played a critical role in the preservation of the Texas Longhorn, helping to establish the foundation of what became the State of Texas Longhorn Herd, today located in Fort Griffin State Park.
Richardson began collecting artwork in 1942, naturally drawn to artists Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell, whose works captured the “spirit of the West.” While Richardson primarily purchased works of art through Newhouse Galleries in New York, he occasionally bought directly from private collectors, as evidenced by two letters from Maurice Weiss on display for the first time. Weiss knew Russell personally and sold Richardson companion paintings – The Buffalo Hunt and Returning to Camp – which are displayed in the gallery with Weiss’ letters. The Buffalo Hunt returns to the gallery in A Fortune in Oils after having not been on display for more than a decade.
While known to many only through his art collection, Richardson’s lasting legacy was created in 1947 with the establishment of the Sid W. Richardson Foundation. Dedicated to serving the people of Texas, the foundation has contributed more than $503,000,000 in support of human services, education, and arts and cultural initiatives across the state.
Located in Fort Worth’s historic Sundance Square, the Sid Richardson Museum opened in 1982 and serves as a permanent home for the artworks acquired by Richardson between 1942 and 1959. The Sid Richardson Museum primarily features its permanent collection and special exhibitions of paintings from premier Western artists. The Sid Richardson Museum welcomes an average of 50,000 visitors annually from all 50 states and more than 53 foreign countries. Additionally, The Sid W. Richardson Foundation continues to fulfill Richardson’s vision through funding educational, health, human service and cultural organizations throughout Texas.