Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Olive Freda Vandruff Bugbee

Renowned painter Olive Freda Vandruff Bugbee of Clarendon died here on Saturday, January 4, 2003, at the age of 94.

Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. January 15 in the Hazlewood Lecture Hall at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon

Born at Martin’s Ferry, Ohio, on April 17, 1908, to Ross and Mame Buskirk Vandruff, she spent much of her childhood traveling in the Southwestern United States with her geologist father and her mother. In Chicago, she studied with painter Edmund Giesbert at the University of Chicago.  She also studied with Chicago sculptors Elisabeth H. Hibbard and Frederick C. Hibbard in the mid 1940s, eventually becoming an assistant to them. Vandruff moved to San Antonio in 1931, where she became an assistant to sculptor Pompeo Coppini.

About 1937, she married the engraver Charles F. Anderson.  In 1950 she operated a sheep ranch near Kerrville. While in the Hill Country, she became a renowned painter of animals and birds and was often commissioned to paint pet and horse portraits. She met Western artist H.D. Bugbee of Clarendon in 1960, marrying him the following year and relocating to Clarendon. 

Upon Bugbee’s death in 1963, Vandruff succeeded him as curator of art at the Panhandle-Pains Historical Museum until her retirement in 1982. After retiring, she still volunteered at the Museum, driving the 150 mile round trip from Clarendon nearly every day until November 2002.

Vandruff worked in several media, including pastel, watercolor, casein, and oil.  She was a member of the Coppini Academy of Fine Arts in San Antonio and began exhibiting there in the early 1930s.  By the early 1960s, she had had numerous solo exhibitions.  Vandruff’s paintings are found in private collections across the United States.

Among her patrons were former President Lyndon B. Johnson and Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe.  Her public commissions consist of murals in Texas and Oklahoma, including a mural of Palo Duro Canyon for the First National Bank of Amarillo, now Bank of America. In 1976, she was included in the landmark exhibition, “The Women Artist, in the American West, 1860-1960,” in Fullerton, California.  Recently, she was included in the Dictionary of Texas Artists, 1800-1945.

A memorial exhibition of Vandruff’s paintings will be presented in the Bugbee Gallery at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon.  The exhibition will include works of art from her personal collection as well as from the Museum’s.

Her body will be cremated.  Arrangements were under the direction of Robertson Funeral Directors, Inc., of Clarendon.

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