Arthello Beck, Jr. (1941–2004)
Acrylic and fabric on canvas
Gift to Perkins School of Theology by the Perkins Student Council, 1969–70
Reconferred to Perkins by Theodore Walker, Jr., Associate Professor of Ethics and Society
Dallas artist Arthello Beck’s The Entombment is one part of a triptych. The remaining two panels are in the collection of the Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, which acquired a number of Beck’s paintings in 1985 and where Beck served as artist-in-residence 1992–93. Although his formal education was limited to Lincoln High School, having graduated in 1959, Beck spent hours as a reticent young man poring over art books in the Dallas Public Library. He taught himself to oil paint in the early 1960s, and also committed himself to watercolor, charcoal, pencil, pen and ink, and photography. Noted for his portrayal of events related to the American civil rights movement, Beck’s subject affinities ranged from biblical characters, to children at play, to life in the Black community of the American South. He exhibited widely, and in 1972 opened the Arthello Beck Gallery in the Oak Cliff community of Dallas, which for decades served as an influential center for Black arts in the region.
Beck’s most prominent work was realized after his death, Cypress Trees, from a memory of Caddo Lake, which stretches across a twenty-foot diameter and is embedded in the terrazzo floor of the Dallas Fort Worth Airport International Terminal.