Special Exhibits

Maxfield Parrish: The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Murals

Eyes of Texas

This exhibition at The Bryan Museum combines wealth, beauty, and high-stakes art theft.

In 1912, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, heiress, scion, and founder of Manhattan’s Whitney Museum, commissioned American artist Maxfield Parrish to create a set of murals for her Long Island mansion’s art studio. Nearly ninety years later, two of the nine murals were stolen in a daring and sophisticated robbery. Thieves entered a West Hollywood art gallery through the roof, disabled motion sensors and alarms, and cut two of the paintings from their frames. The two murals are still missing and the heist is on the FBI’s list of Top Ten International Art Crimes.


This exhibition is your only opportunity to see all nine murals together, at least in spirit. These murals are arguably the finest works Parrish ever created. Originally installed in the reception room of Whitney’s art studio, the large-scale paintings were created from 1914 to 1918. Parrish’s paintings convey a sense of magic through their imagined and idealized neo-classical imagery. Parrish’s popularity was staggering, with one in four American homes displaying his art during the first half of the 20th century.

Open to the Public
November 11, 2018 - May 11, 2019