A Guide to the Edward Muegge “Buck” Schiwetz Collection, 1928 - 1979
Artist Edward “Buck” Muegge Schiwetz (1898-1984) was born in Cuero, Texas on August 24, 1898 to banker William Berthold and his wife, Anna (Reiffert) Schiwetz. He inherited his artistic talents from his mother, whose pencil drawings served as a model for the young Schiwetz. Further influenced by a local china painter, Mary Louise Gramann, Schiwetz’s early paintings depict his subjects in clear, precise strokes. Cabin in the Woods, his earliest work, reflects this style.
Schiwetz graduated from high school in 1916, and although he was unable to realize his dream of attending art school, he made the best of his education, and it provided a strong foundation for would later develop into a very successful artistic career. He attended college at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, what is now Texas A and M University, receiving his degree in architectural design in 1921. In 1922, after a year of graduate studies in Architecture at Texas A and M, Schiwetz moved to Dallas in search of work as an architectural drafter. To supplement his income initially, he created advertisement sketches, working under John Doctoroff and Guy Cahoon. He then landed a job with the architectural firm Thompson and Swaine, where he worked for two years.
On January 30, 1926, Schiwetz married fellow artist, Ruby Lee Sanders, a sculptor and ceramist. The couple moved to Houston in 1928 where Schiwetz did freelance rendering and advertisement art for a year before they moved to New York City. While in New York, Schiwetz further pursued his craft and enrolled in the Art Student’s League where he studied etching and lithography. It is during this time period that he sold his art work to magazines, including Pencil Points, a volume of which contains an interview with E.M. Schiwetz and is part of this collection. According to that interview, Schiwetz admired and studied the work of Otto Eggers, Joseph Pennell, and Louis Rosenberg, among others.
After their brief stay in New York, the Schiwetz couple moved back to Houston where E.M Schiwetz became a partner in what was to become Wilkinson – Schiwetz and Tips, which later became McCann-Erickson. While in Houston, he and his wife had a daughter, Patricia, in 1931.
Schiwetz won many awards for his sketches and paintings of Texas buildings, landscapes and oilfields throughout the 1930s and 1940s. He also won the Houston Popular Prize in 1951 – 1952. His work was exhibited throughout the country, including the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and the Art Institute of Chicago. Other honors bestowed upon him include his selection as the official state artist of Texas for 1977-1978 and as the artist-in-residence at his Alma Mater, Texas A and M during the school’s centennial celebration in 1976. Various books of his sketches have been published, including Buck Schiwetz’ Texas in 1960 which contains an introduction written by Walter Prescott Webb, one of Schiwetz’ former high school teachers.
Schiwetz suffered a heart attack and stroke in 1974 causing temporary paralysis on his right side and then had surgery to remove cancer in 1976. Despite these health setbacks, Schiwetz continued to work, always experimenting with and perfecting his art. He died on February 2, 1984.
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. “SCHIWETZ, EDWARD MUEGGE [BUCK],” http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/SS/fsc49.html (accessed March 28, 2005).
“Pencil Points,” Vol. X, No. 2, pg. 74-88.
Journal articles, correspondence, published works, unpublished research and notes and photographs document the career of Edward Muegge “Buck” Schiwetz as an artist, illustrator and architectural sketcher. The collection is arranged into four main series; Biographical Material, Correspondence, Art Projects by E.M. Schiwetz, and Photographs.
The first series, Biographical Material, 1929-1955, contains two published journals, each containing articles about E.M. Schiwetz. They provide biographical data on the artist and his budding, and then successful career. Each article contains several examples of his work.
The second series, Correspondence, 1954-1979, contains letters written to and from Schiwetz. Most of the correspondence pertains to work rather than personal life, although many elude a respect and affection for the artist. A sub-series of Correspondence includes letters concerning Mathews Ranch and the work E.M. Schiwetz did for the book, Interwoven written by Sallie Reynolds Mathews. Most of these letters are from book designer Carl Hertzog, with the dates ranging from 1956 to 1958. Six of these letters are handwritten.
The third series, Art Projects by E.M. Schiwetz, 1928-1961, is arranged according to the five individual projects. The first, and largest, is Schiwetz’s material for Interwoven, which contains notes, sketches to be included as illustrations, a small photo of an unidentified gravestone, two 7x10 photos of a two-story house, one program from Susan Mathews Reynolds funeral dated November 10, 1955, two programs from the Mathews Memorial Presbyterian Church dated December 22, 1957, sketches of the church by E.M. Schiwetz that were used for the front header of the programs and other materials relating to the book or to Mathews Ranch.
The second project is layout illustrations that pertain to Reluctant Empire written by George Fuermann. The third project pertains to the book, Spindletop: The True Story of the Oil Discovery that Changed the World written by James A. Clark and Michel T. Halbouty and contains a dust jacket from the book and a painting by E.M. Schiwetz of the scene on the dust jacket. The fourth project is Texas, published by the Commerce and Finance Departments that contains a collection of 52 advertisements. The book is signed by Anderson Layton of Houston, Texas and dated December 1928. The last project is “Texas Sketchbook: A Collection of Historical Stories from the Humble Way,” about Texas history with stories by Frank Field and illustrations by E.M. Schiwetz. There are two copies of the sketchbook, one of them being a reprint from the earlier publication with a different cover.
The last series of the collection, Photographs, 1961-1978, contains six black and white photographs by James Vance. Five of the photographs are of what appears to be Texas scenery. One of the photographs is of E. M. Schiwetz working on a sketch or painting of a landscape.
Open for research.
Edward Muegge “Buck” Schiwetz Collection, Southwestern Writers Collection/Texas State University-San Marcos.
Donated by Frank and Pat Nelson [Accession # 2003-142 and 2003-160].
Processed by Amy N. Cockreham, 2005.
Detailed Description of the Collection