Briscoe Western Art Museum Names Debbie Montford Recipient of Inaugural Dolph & Janey Briscoe Legacy Award

Debbie Montford

Debbie Montford

The Briscoe Western Art Museum on November 8 announced Debbie Montford as the recipient of the newly established Dolph & Janey Briscoe Legacy Award. This award honors an individual who has demonstrated the philanthropic spirit of the late Texas Governor and his wife through altruistic contributions and support of the Briscoe Museum and all of South Texas. Montford will be presented with the Briscoe Legacy Award during a luncheon in her honor on Wednesday, December 6 beginning at 11:30am at the Briscoe’s Jack Guenther Pavilion.

For more than 30 years, Debbie Montford has dedicated her philanthropic expertise and generous support to nonprofits across the state of Texas. Through her exceptional leadership and tenacious efforts as chairman of the board for the Briscoe Museum, Debbie was integral in the grand opening of the Museum in 2013. She is currently an advisory board member of the Briscoe, board secretary of Humanities Texas, and an advisory director of the Plum Foundation.

“The Briscoe Museum is deeply grateful for Debbie Montford’s unwavering dedication and advocacy,” said Michael Duchemin, President & CEO of the Briscoe Museum. “Her continuous philanthropic efforts and devotion to our Museum aptly embody the core values of this award.”

Debbie has served on numerous boards and has received many notable awards including the Champion of the Arts Award presented by Texas Monthly in association with Texas Women for the Arts. With a personal approach to fundraising and a deep passion for the arts, education, and the health of the San Antonio community, Debbie and her husband, John T. Montford, are often dubbed “the dynamic duo,” with a goal to raise $1 billion dollars for charity in their lifetimes.

“Debbie Montford has been a great champion of the arts. She has been a leader in creating The Tobin Center and The Briscoe Western Art Museum. San Antonio is fortunate to have Debbie Montford contributing to our community in such a dynamic and dedicated fashion,” said the Honorable Nelson W. Wolff.

Legacy Award Luncheon chairs include Jane Macon, Tracy Wolff, and Nancy Loeffler. The award itself will be presented to Debbie by her husband, John T. Montford, a former member of the Texas State Senate (District 28) and former chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. Please call 210.229.4499 or visit for sponsorship information and tickets.

South Texas Ranching Families Give Generously to the Briscoe Western Art Museum

Gifts Help the Briscoe Highlight the Contributions of Texas Ranching Culture and the Legacy of the American West 

The Briscoe Western Art Museum announced on October 11 recent significant gifts it has received from several South Texas ranching families, including Wyatt Ranches, San Vicente Ranch LTD, the “Tex” Elliott family, and the Kate Marmion Charitable Foundation.

“The Briscoe Museum is deeply grateful for these generous gifts from some of South Texas’s most revered ranching families,” said Michael Duchemin, President & CEO of the Briscoe Museum.  “The legacy and impact of Texas ranching culture is indelibly tied to the mission of the Briscoe in preserving the history and heritage of the American West.”

Associates at Tasajillo Div. with Lynn Wyatt for Harpers Bazaar

Associates at Tasajillo Div. with Lynn Wyatt for Harpers Bazaar

The pergola/stage area in the Briscoe’s McNutt Sculpture Garden, a lush outdoor public space and courtyard featuring bronze sculptures by leading Western artists, will now be known as the “Wyatt Ranches Stage,” thanks to the benevolent contribution of Wyatt Ranches. This is the first gift to the Museum from Wyatt Ranches, whose administrator, Bradford Wyatt, has served on the Briscoe Museum’s board of directors since January 2017. Established in 1965 and headquartered in Texas, Wyatt Ranches operates an assimilation of cattle ranching divisions in Colorado, Tamaulipas (Mexico), South Texas, and West Texas.  Mr. Wyatt lives in Realitos, Texas. His mother, Lynn Wyatt, is a well-known philanthropist and matriarch of the Wyatt family.

Enrique Guerra Sr, Enrique Kiko Guerra, Rebecca Guerra and Jose Che Guerra

Enrique Guerra Sr, Enrique Kiko Guerra, Rebecca Guerra and Jose Che Guerra

Two of the most significant pieces on display in the Briscoe Museum galleries have been generously donated to the Museum by San Vicente Ranch, LTD (Linn, Texas) and the Guerra family.  The ornate gold and steel ceremonial sword and leather scabbard, dated 1852, that once belonged to Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna and a Silk-Embroidered Spanish Viceroy Saddle from the mid-1700s, are now a part of the Briscoe’s permanent collection. On the third floor of the Museum is a gallery named for the Guerra family that includes rare artifacts, saddles, and relics from their extensive private collection. Che Guerra is the incoming 2018 Briscoe Board Chair, and Kiko Guerra is a featured artist in Briscoe’s McNutt Sculpture Garden with his bronze masterpiece “El Caporal” that pays homage to the Mexican Vaqueros that once led cattle through this region.

Ben, Rebecca Ruthardt, Jannifer, and Stephen Elliott

Ben, Rebecca Ruthardt, Jannifer, and Stephen Elliott

Since December 2016, several members of the “Tex” Elliott family have committed three-year pledges to the Briscoe Western Art Museum. The family patriarch was lifelong rancher Albert Sager “Tex” Elliott, who passed away in 2013. The Elliott family has holdings in El Bigote Cattle Co. LLC, Gates Mineral Company, Gates Espejo Ranch and Alamo Ranch in New Mexico, after which the A Bar Gallery at the Briscoe is named. Elliott’s wife of 46 years, Jannifer Elliott, is a proud member of the museum’s first docent class, and his daughter, Jessica Erin Elliott, has served as Briscoe Board Chair for the past two years and David B. Elliott, “Tex’s” brother is also a major contributor to the Museum. Other members of the “Tex” Elliott family who have given to the Briscoe include Caleb Gates Elliott and late wife, Kelley, of Lubbock; Jason Sager Elliott and wife, Robin, of Oak Point; Benjamin Galbraith Elliott and wife, Stefani, of Uvalde; Stephen Elliott and wife, Weslie, of Georgetown; and Rebecca Elliott Ruthardt and husband, Tate, of Lubbock.

Janey Briscoe Marmion

Janey Briscoe Marmion

The Kate Marmion Charitable Foundation, based in Uvalde, gifted the Briscoe Museum with major operating grants in 2016 and 2017, and sponsored a gallery during the Museum’s capital campaign. The Foundation was named for the late Janey Katherine “Kate” Marmion, daughter of Janey Briscoe Marmion and James R. Marmion, and granddaughter of the late former Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe, Jr. Additional support is received annually from Governor Briscoe’s children: Jill and Dolph “Chip” Briscoe, III, Janey Briscoe Marmion, and Cele and John Carpenter.

“Each member of these notable South Texas ranching families embodies the core values of the late Governor Briscoe and his wife, Janey,” said Duchemin. “Their continued philanthropy has been a cornerstone in establishing the Briscoe as one of the premier Western Art Museums in the region.”

The Briscoe Presents George Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio

Exhibition showcases rare, vibrant images of 19th century Native Americans

The Briscoe Western Art Museum is pleased to present its summer exhibition showcasing a very rare deluxe set of George Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio. This edition of 31 hand-painted color plates is one of only three known sets still in existence. Catlin’s Portfolio is among the most famous color plate books relating to North America’s Native populations produced in the 19th century.

Plate 1. North American Indians.

Plate 1. North American Indians.

George Catlinwas one of the first artists to venture along the western reach of the Missouri River to study and document the Native peoples of the region. From 1832 to 1837, Catlin spent the summer months sketching the tribes of the Great Plains and then finished his pictures in oils during the winter. Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio contains the lithographic prints resulting from his years of painting, living with, and traveling amongst tribes such as the Mandan, Sioux (Lakota), Blackfeet, Crow and several others.  Overall, Catlin painted around 600 highly realistic and powerfully projected portraits of Indians, carefully recording their dress, culture, and way of life.

Plate 5:  Buffalo Hunt, Chase.

Plate 5: Buffalo Hunt, Chase.

In addition to publishing the Portfolio, Catlin also spent from 1837 to 1852 touring the United States, England, France, and Holland, exhibiting his collection of paintings with examples of Native American arts and crafts. He was accompanied by representative members of the Indian tribes he painted during this time. Financial problems in 1852 caused Catlin to lose his collection. He spent his later years making trips to South and Central American, sketching the Native peoples there.

Plate 21:  Ball Players.

Plate 21: Ball Players.

The Briscoe’s Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio exhibition is FREE for members and with paid Museum admission and will be on display from June 23 – September 4, 2017. The exhibition also includes excerpts from the documentary film, Frontier Visionary: George Catlin and the Plains Indians,produced by the Smithsonian American Art Museum1 and a reference reading area. The Briscoe Museum offers extended hours and free admission every Tuesday from 4:00-9:00pm.

1Frontier Visionary: George Catlin and the Plains Indians (Washington, DC: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2002)

About The Briscoe Western Art Museum:

The Briscoe Western Art Museum, named in honor of the late Texas Gov. Dolph Briscoe Jr. and his wife, Janey Slaughter Briscoe, preserves and presents the art, history and culture of the American West through engaging exhibitions, educational programs and public events reflective of the region’s rich traditions and shared heritage. Located along the San Antonio River Walk, the museum’s campus includes the restored 1930s former San Antonio Public Library building, which now serves as the museum space with nine galleries on three levels; the three-story Jack Guenther Pavilion, used for event rentals and programs; and the outdoor McNutt Sculpture Garden. For more information about The Briscoe Western Art Museum, visit, follow on Twitter @BriscoeMuseum or “Like” on Facebook @TheBriscoe.