An exhibit of the personal art collection of Athens native Sid Richardson opens soon in the Fort Worth Museum that bears his name.
A Fortune in Oils: Sid Richardson’s Personal Collection, runs Sept. 14 through March 2020.
“This unique exhibit transcends the walls of our gallery, taking our visitors inside the life and times of Sid Richardson,” said Sid Richardson Foundation President and CEO Pete Geren. “This exhibit adds another dimension to our patrons’ enjoyment and understanding of a man who helped shape the history of our community and our state, and whose legacy continues to improve the lives of countless Texans.”
According to the Athens Review archives, in the early 20th century, many wildcatters came from modest backgrounds and overcame seemingly insurmountable odds and many setbacks to achieve great wealth and power. Sid Richardson was one of the most successful.
He began working in the oil fields near Wichita Falls in 1930 and struck it big in the Keystone Field of West Texas later in the decade. The field produced 82 consecutive wells without a dry hole.
At his peak, Richardson, with a fortune of $700 million was described by Ladies Home Journal as the richest man in America,
He began collecting art in 1942. Favorites were Frederic Remington and Charles Russell. Richardson amassed one of the country’s largest collections of Western masterworks including paintings by William Robinson Leigh, Charles Schreyvogel, Frank Tenney Johnson and Oscar E. Berninghaus, among others.
According to a press release, he museum, located in Sundance Square was founded in 1982 and welcomes welcomes an average of 50,000 visitors annually from all 50 states and more than 53 foreign countries.
Although he was known around the world, Richardson continued to use his wealth to help many philanthropic organizations around Henderson County. In 1938, he gave enough money to Athens High School so the band could purchase much-needed instruments.
He was a close friend to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and entertained him along with Sen. Lyndon Johnson at his home on San Jose Island, off the Texas coast. Richardson died in 1959 and was buried at Athens Cemetery. In November, 2017, a historical marker was dedicated at his grave site.