PaperCity Magazine

September 2019- Fort Worth

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TK F ort Worth has always had its fair share of characters, visionaries, and icons, but none are quite like artists Stuart and Scott Gentling. Their paintings and drawings allow us a glimpse into their voracious intellects and unbounded curiosity for history, nature, music, and other subjects. The fraternal twins wrote violin concertos with Van Cliburn winners, historical papers that were well received by academics, and books on Texas birds and Aztec art; created mesmerizing public spaces; painted portraits of some of the most important figures of our time; and left indelible marks on Fort Worth. You may not know their names, but if you know Fort Worth, they have touched your life. This fall, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art mounts "Seeing in Detail: Scott and Stuart Gentling's Birds of Texas," an exhibition of the original and exquisitely painted dry-brush watercolors, from which the plates of their Of Birds and an occasional art dealer — and also my father. I would probably not exist without the twins. Stuart introduced my mother, Mary Frances, to my father at a gathering at the Gentling home in 1973, after meeting him at Mayfest. She quickly became a glamorous and brilliant addition to their group and a partner in the gallery business. I grew up hearing tales of the Gentlings' childhood and teenage capers with my father, and I listened to them discuss topics ranging from debates about Mozart vs. Beethoven and the true authorship of Shakespeare's plays to tales of Mesoamerican and European history. As the precocious only child of art dealers, I spent much more time in the company of these interesting adults than children my own age, echoing Scott's observation that most "other children were boring." When I was young, Scott would occasionally come to one of our frequent parties, but only very late, after all but our closest friends had departed. He was almost completely incapable of small talk but perfectly happy to stand on a fireplace ledge at two o'clock in the morning, demonstrating to an 11-year-old how artist Bill Bomar used the Golden Ratio to create the composition of the painting hanging on her family's wall. Is it any wonder I wanted to pursue art history since childhood. In his foreword to Of Birds and Texas, wildlife conservationist Harry Tennison wrote about several of the twins' adventures with my father, including the rocket incident. The trio did, indeed, talk Tennison into buying them gunpowder for their homemade, soda-straw missile tests. Tennison was quite impressed that they had managed to fire a dozen three- stage rockets before the Russians. Then, to Harry's horror, their tests were brought to an abrupt halt when they ignited a can of gunpowder, causing an explosion that blistered their faces and burned off their BY ATLEE PHILLIPS. PORTRAIT DAVID WHARTON. AS THE AMON CARTER MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART OPENS ITS ANTICIPATED EXHIBITION "SEEING IN DETAIL: SCOTT AND STUART GENTLING'S BIRDS OF TEXAS," ATLEE PHILLIPS — DAUGHTER OF ART DEALER J.O. "DUTCH" PHILLIPS JR., A LIFELONG FRIEND OF THE GENTLING TWINS — TELLS OF THE PROFOUND IMPACT THE BROTHERS HAD ON BOTH HER LIFE AND THEIR CITY. Texas book were created. The twins were born in 1942. Their father was a doctor at the Mayo Clinic who moved his family to the west side of Fort Worth in 1948. The middle brothers of four bright children, Stuart and Scott quickly gained a reputation for being "boy geniuses" and were often brought out at parties to entertain guests. During the 1950s, a tour of their room became the highlight of dinner parties — horrifying their mother, who never knew what her guests might encounter in their sanctum sanctorum, which generally served as a workroom and laboratory for all kinds of pursuits. Any visitor could expect to find desks covered with balsa wood, glue, and other materials used to build models of trains, ancient Roman buildings, and 18th- century ships, as well as the debris and surgical instruments for Stuart's taxidermy. As they grew older, the twins became infamous for their teenage escapades, all of them perpetrated with their best friend, J.O. "Dutch" Phillips Jr., an intellectual compatriot who, in later years, was THE TIES THAT BIND Stuart and Scott Gentling, 1985 PAGE 90: FROM TOP, COPYRIGHT DAVID WHARTON, SCOTT AND STUART GENTLING PAPERS, AMON CARTER MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, GIFT OF THE GENTLING FAMILY; AMON CARTER MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, GIFT OF THE FORT WORTH MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND HISTORY. PAGE 91: SCOTT AND STUART GENTLING PAPERS, AMON CARTER MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, GIFT OF THE GENTLING FAMILY. 92

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