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William D. Wittliff

William D. Wittliff (cont)

In 1971, Wittliff produced an exceedingly attractive exhibition catalogue, The Spanish Southwest, for the Dallas Public Library. Here is an item at once striking and bold, with its yellow wrappers and beautiful title label printed, like the text pages, in black and red. One is impelled to open and discover the contents. The title page has a classical border, yet is simply and tastefully done, a pleasing invitation to the other interesting and imaginative pages that follow.

With its distinctive square shape, this 1969 catalogue for the Institute of Texan Cultures, Tom Lea: A Selection of Paintings and Drawings from the Nineteen-Sixties, is spirited, even brassy. This brazen feel is immediately evident on the front cover, again on the title page, and to some extent with the chapter heads. Illustrations are sensitively handled as is the colophon and the title label on the slipcase, where the artistís personal emblem and the type are nicely proportioned.

This 1971 catalogue for the El Paso Museum of Art, 87 Paintings & Drawings by Tom Lea, is far more subtle than the earlier one. The Southwest speaks out in the landscape format, the beautiful brown-toned textured wrappers, and the cover drawing of the lone cowboy and his mount in an otherwise empty rectangle. Both publications utilize the same typeface, but here it seems more appropriate in size and weight. Again the illustrations are well handled, but unfortunately the reproductions are nowhere near the quality of the first catalogue. Overall, however, it is an outstanding work.

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