• Biography

    Josephene Oliver Travis (1908-1991)

    Josephine Oliver, a Paris, Texas native, became a student of Frank Reaugh, one of Texas’ most respected artists and art teachers. Starting at age 12 under his tutelage, Ms. Oliver rapidly developed her talents and soon became the art instructor’s teaching assistant. In 1923, she accompanied Reaugh and a group of his students on a month-long trip to sketch with pastels the beautiful landforms and sky of West Texas. These trips continued over another 10 years, as Ms. Oliver’s skills developed by sketching many of the regions most scenic landmarks. Modern critics believe that with time some of the student’s work even surpassed those of her teacher, with her vivid pastel landscapes capturing the essence of “earth and sky." Ms. Oliver was somewhat of a young Renaissance-woman of the 1920s and 1930s, winning a talent competition, traveling across the country performing in a music and dance revue in 1927, and pursuing both her art and music studies in Paris, France in 1928. By 1929 she was a member of the second violin section of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. This was an exceptional accomplishment since statistics from the time show in the concert field the ratio of men violinists to women violinists was 59:1. Again and again, however, the young artist would return to Reaugh’s Oak Cliff studio to teach, sketch and help organize exhibitions of her teacher’s work and that of his many protégés. Following her marriage to noted Dallas artist Olin Travis in 1935, the multi-talented Josephine focused on her musical abilities, becoming a violinist with both the San Antonio and Dallas Symphony Orchestras. She remained active in professional music circles for many years, retiring from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 1977. She died in Dallas in 1991. Exhibitions: Annual Exhibition of Texas Artists, Dallas Woman's Forum (1927); Frank Reaugh Art Club, Dallas (1930s); Women Artists of Texas 1850-1950, Panhandle- Plains Historical Museum, Canyon (1993). Murals: Dallas Morning News Building (assisting Perry Nichols)