Hunter and his
HUNTER SCHOOL OF ART
San Antonio, TX
Dad would have been 100 years old on November 11, 2004, so this seems most appropriate. I've been remembering Dad's stories about drawing trains on his school desk, instead of paying attention to the 3Rs, and he flunked first grade as a result. Drawing and painting came to him naturally.
When I was a little girl, he would take me with him on walks along the Medina River where he would stop now and then to sketch something that interested him. He taught me color combinations before I knew 2+2=4. When he, Mama, and I drove someplace, he talked about the forms and colors in the landscape and the different shapes of trees. How he loved the live oaks and the hill country! I recall one time he brought the car to a screeching halt because he saw a dead armadillo in the road and he wanted to get a good look at details of the animal's feet.
C. H. paid the bills for Dad to attend the Art Institute of Chicago, and this gave him the opportunity of his life. I have good memories of those four years and of Dad's great curiosity about everything he saw there. These were tough years for Mama, but she, too, learned a lot. Mama and I spent every Sunday afternoon in either Art Institute or the Field Museum of Natural History while Dad worked in the Cloakroom of the Institute. Some afternoons the three of us walked and walked to look at buildings and other things around the city, sometimes for so long that I thought surely my short legs would fall off.
I grew up thinking everybody was curious and loved art. Dad really was a good teacher and loved talking to students about drawing, painting, and life in general. In turn he benefited from the students appreciating him. He would have been miserable being retired. I'm glad that he stayed with his school to the end of his life. by Marilyn Hunter Tilghman
A more official bio by Marilyn Hunter Tilghman:
He was born, November 11, 1904, in London, Texas. His father, J. Marvin Hunter, was an itinerant printer who moved his wife and four children around West Texas and parts of New Mexico. The grass always looked greener in the next town to start a newspaper. Each of the children worked in the shop. (There is a family joke that we have printer's ink in our blood.) He worked in San Antonio (/Express/, I think) a time or two before moving the family to Bandera about 1921.
Dad attended Breckenridge High School, but finished his senior
year in Bandera. He went to business college in San Antonio and then worked
for Kress (remember the ten-cent store?). He was working in management there
when he and Mama married in 1925. He didn't like the "corporate life" and
with help from his father, he went to Harper and printed his own newspaper,
/The Harper Herald. /Mama ran the linotype and he did everything else. He
managed to sketch and paint a few oils too.
I don't know just how it was decided that he should go to the Art Institute of Chicago, but in 1935 we moved there, going home to Texas at Christmas and in summers, for four years. His course of study was primarily commercial art.
In 1939 Dad graduated and we moved to San Antonio. He was a commercial artist for an advertising firm, the name of which escapes me. I remember going to his office downtown several times. It was then that he began smoking, the IN thing to do. Life in SA in 1939 was good.
Then came WWII and Dad joined the Army Map Service. He worked in SA for about a year and was then transferred to Washington, D.C.. Mama and I moved to Bandera. I can't be precise about when he changed from the Map Service to OSS, but he was in the latter at the end of the war. He came home for a visit then and I remember him having nightmares. Soon after that he got out of the spy business and spent a year in New York trying to survive as an artist. It was a lonely and unprofitable experience and he was happy to return to SA and start his art school in LaVillita and make friends at the Witte Museum and other art related places. Celine was one of his students.
About 1950 he became Dean of the McNey, but there he found too many hard to please old ladies. There were a lot of administrative headaches and little time to paint. Then he opened the school on Brooklyn. He offered a strong commercial art program, but the State of Texas gradually added more rules and regulations than he wanted to deal with and after a few years, he reduced the program to drawing and painting and relied upon commissions from Southwest Research Institute and others. And you know the rest...