Bess Bigham Hubbard (1896-1977) is not particularly well known outside of West Texas even though her artistic career embraced the United States and Europe. Judging from her work and initiative she was an artist who had the “dis-ease”: an unquenchable obligation to make art. She was not affiliated with any academic institution but ventured out regularly across the country and internationally (Taos, Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, Chicago, London, and elsewhere) to study art for a month or so and return to Lubbock. She worked in a variety of print media, as well as sculpture, jewelry, and painting. Her strengths were in lithography, intaglio and stone sculpture. Hubbard’s work has a distinctly modernist and American Scene disposition that certainly owes much to those with whom she studied, including William Zorach, Kenneth Adams, Boardman Robinson, Doel Reed, and Alexander Hogue. But Hubbard’s work is undeniably Hubbard. Two images are reproduced below.
The AP/RC has 90 works by Bess Hubbard and most of these are prints (57) or drawings (28) that relate to her prints. Recently, another Lubbock-based artist asked us if we wanted Bess Hubbard’s brayer. “Yes,” slipped out immediately. But how do we know it was hers? He noted that he bought it about twenty years ago for a few cents at her estate sale. Pictured above is Bess Hubbard’s brayer, a modest 1.5 inch hard, well-used rubber roller. There are no trademarks on the brayer’s housing or handle. Therefore, if you can identify the manufacturer of this brayer, we will be in your debt.