Tom and Sarah Lea’s “Southwest” | Photo courtesy Tom Lea Institute
One of El Paso’s most beloved works of art, Tom and Sarah Lea’s “Southwest,” will be temporarily relocated from its present home at the Main Library to the El Paso Museum of History.
Visitors to Museum of History will be able to study this piece from a new perspective as it will be installed closer to the viewer.
“The temporary move is in preparation of the renovations planned for the Main Library. This was an opportune time to move and reinstall the mural as El Paso will be hosting meetings for museum and public art professionals later this year.” City officials share, “The temporary location will provide additional opportunities to study and appreciate the mural at museum-hosted events. There will also be opportunities to display artifacts from the museum’s collection as well as offering additional programming at the museum.”
A photographic reproduction will be placed in the Main Library while the facility under goes renovations.
“Southwest” was painted in 1956 as a collaborative effort between Lea and his wife, Sarah, as a gift to the people of El Paso and the Main Library. It is the only known collaboration of its kind between one of El Paso’s most prolific artists of the mid-twentieth century and his wife.
In a passage from his book, “A Picture Gallery,” Lea describes his work as a panoramic window onto a vast and open landscape. “It spoke of space, sun, cloud, rain, wind, mountain, mesa, rock, sand, soil, and of living growth nurtured by them. The only human habitant was the viewer of this mural…” Lea states in his book.
“Southwest” will be officially unveiled at the Museum of History, on March 21. The unveiling reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for members and supporters.
For more information on the unveiling, contact the Museum of History at (915) 212-3160