Hear the Final Lecture from Noted Art Scholar



As the Dallas art community continues to mourn the recent death of Dr. Richard Brettell, longtime professor of art and aesthetic studies at The University of Texas at Dallas, the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History has released a video (featured above) of Brettell’s last lecture – a workshop he hosted at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA).

While Brettell was instrumental in developing the vision for the O’Donnell Institute at UT Dallas, he remained a leading scholar and educator and was one of the leading voices in the world of art. His art lectures – on campus and in the community – were very popular.

“His charismatic lectures have introduced thousands to great art,” said UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson, who holds the Eugene McDermott Distinguished University Chair of Leadership.

Dr. Michael Thomas, director of the O’Donnell Institute and holder of the Richard R. Brettell Distinguished University Chair, said Brettell’s ability to clearly provide art insights to any person set him apart from many other scholars.

“There are lots of great scholars – they’re all over the world, and they write books and articles and give lectures,” he said. “Rick was that, but equally – and perhaps more importantly – he was a communicator. He could talk in such a way that it reached the broadest audience possible.”

Brettell’s final lecture was held Jan. 30, 2020. The DMA talk provided groundbreaking scholarship surrounding the Paul Gauguin painting “D’ou Venons Nous / Que Sommes Nous / Où Allons Nous” (Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?).

Thomas said Brettell was at his best and most captivating when he stood in front of a work of art and provided insights that others had not seen.

“What is clear in this presentation is that the always exuberant and brilliant mind of Rick Brettell was operating at full strength even as he was in the last stage of his long battle with cancer,” Thomas said.

–Phil Roth

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