Chester Toney (Am. 1925-1960)
Chester Toney was born in 1925* in Littlefield, Texas. Toney was a dominant force on the Texas Modern scene, known for his nonobjective, expressionist works. He was a central figure in the foundation of the San Antonio Men of Art Guild (1952).
Toney studied at the San Antonio Art Institute, where he was a colleague of Cecil Casebier and Bill Reily (fellow cofounders of the San Antonio Men of Art).
Toney’s work met great acclaim, and San Antonio artists, collectors and institutions (such as the Marion Koogler McNay Art Institute) encouraged him to pursue a nonobjective style. The San Antonio Art League recognized Toney’s achievements, nominating him as artist of the Year in 1960.**
Toney’s career was brief, but his success was significant, and his devotion to non-objectivity was pivotal during a period of transition in Texas art from traditional, representational imagery to abstraction.
Chester Toney exhibited at the Dallas Museum of Art in 1954 for the Texas Watercolor Society’s 5th Annual Exhibition; and then in 1955-56 for the 17th and 18th Annual Exhibition of Texas Painting and Sculpture; and then in 1957 for the Survey of Texas Painting. Toney also exhibited at the D.D. Feldman Collection of Contemporary Texas Art, Dallas, 1956.
(Note, *Toney’s life and death dates are not certain, and sources offer conflicting information. **Both 1957 and 1960 have been listed as dates for his San Antonio Art League Artist of the Year Award.)
Katie Robinson Edwards, PhD, Midcentury Modern Art in Texas, © 2014