From UT Press, a visual history of the Lone Star State in lithographs


“Texas Lithographs: A Century of History in Images” (University of Texas Press, 2023) by Ron Tyler presents a visual history of the evolution of the Lone Star State from 1818 to 1900 chronicled through lithographic materials. From early maps of the Republic of Texas to fine art prints depicting a blossoming state, the collected works “reflect an Eden of opportunity — a fairy-tale dream that remains foundational to Texans’ sense of self and to the world’s sense of Texas.”

Tyler, who was the director of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art from 2006 until 2011, is a longtime Texas historian, having formerly served as the director of the Texas State Historical Association and a professor of history at the University of Texas. In addition to authoring and editing a number of other publications on Texas history and art, including “The Art of Texas: 250 Years” (Texas Christian University Press, 2019), he also served as the editor of the “Southwestern Historical Quarterly” and “The New Handbook of Texas”.

In the publication’s introduction, he shares about the creation of lithography and its technical aspects along with insights into other printmaking techniques. He details the evolution of lithography as it relates to Texas, noting that the imagery of Champ d’Asile (a French settlement along the Trinity River) by Horace Vernet on an 1818 song sheet, was completely manufactured from the artist’s studio in Paris. Tyler also details the creation of chromolithography, or lithographs composed of three or more colors, and points out that color printing arrived in Galveston in 1873.

The book is broken into nine thematic chapters chronologically covering major events within Texas’ history and the resulting related ephemera. The featured works on paper provide a unique visual look at the state’s history, offering “a fresh and fascinating perspective on Texas as it developed in less than a century from a Spanish colonial wilderness into a Mexican state, a republic, an American state, and a Confederate state, before joining the Union again.”

While the publication honors Texas’ history, it equally celebrates the art of lithography. From maps and bonds to advertisements and posters, the included works present the diversity of lithography, highlighting the beauty — and importance — of printmaking.

‘Texas Lithographs: A Century of History in Images’
By Ron Tyler
640 pages
461 color illustrations
The University of Texas Press, 2023

Caleb Bell
Caleb Bell
Caleb Bell is a writer and the curator at the Tyler Museum of Art. Bell’s writing and curatorial practices work to expand the conversation around creativity and connect audiences with art.

Related articles