Some of the best things in life happen unexpectedly. Such is the tale of Valley House Gallery and Sculpture Garden. Painter Donald S.
Vogel had not planned to be a gallerist. However, in the 1940s, Vogel often looked for local venues in which to show the work of other artists.
In the early 1950s, he was the director of Betty McLean Gallery, the first contemporary art gallery in the state. Around the same time, he
purchased four acres of land in Far North Dallas.
When the McLean Gallery closed in 1954, he opened Valley House Gallery in his home. He also began teaching painting classes there.
In 1961, the current space became the gallery, run by Vogel and his wife, Peggy. Their son, Kevin, the gallery’s current owner, describes
his mother as “the brains behind the operation.” Together, they showed the work of leading artists of their day. Now celebrating its 60th
anniversary, its current exhibition features an overview of Vogel’s work, along with the works of artists he championed.
Kevin’s ownership was equally unplanned. After high school, his parents sent him to Europe to see the world. He traveled from Norway to
Rome, with many stops in between. Wandering through art museums and following tours, he acquired an astounding breadth of art history.
He says, “As an 18-year-old, the most incredible experience was seeing Michelangelo’s David for the first time and wondering how someone
could do something so beautiful.” The year after his return, his mother lost her battle with cancer. After her death, he says, “My father needed
help in the gallery so I never looked back.” Eventually he married and continued working in the gallery. His father, he says, “was brilliant
in transitioning the gallery to Cheryl (his wife) and me.” They have been running it since the late 1980s. His father lived long enough to see
their success. He passed away in 2004. “If there is anything that makes Valley House unique, it is the garden,” Vogel says. With that in mind,
he added Sculpture Garden to the name about 15 years ago. “When you have something as beautiful as this property, you want to share it,”
adding that they encourage visitors to enjoy the garden whenever the gallery is open. —Nancy Cohen Israel, arts writer
GALLERY AT 60
William Campbell Contemporary Art will celebrate its 40th year in November. “Gentile and informed, Pam and Bill Campbell offer the
collector emerging to nationally recognized artists. They represent a great stable of artists, ranging from abstractionists, painters, and some
photography. Although my main interest is photography, I have several of their artists in my home, including Julie Lazarus, J. T. Grant, and
Frank Tolbert. I am particularly drawn to the abstract work of Julie Lazarus. Her paintings are inspired by her trips to Venice, and are so
rich in color. Her geometric arrangements of her abstract designs, along with the colors, remind me of the canals and buildings of Venice.
She also shows a large variety of blown-glass vases produced in Murano. Like her paintings, they are very rich in color. Frank Tolbert has a
folk flavor to his paintings that remind me of David Bates. Bill and Pam are most accommodating in helping people choose art to fit their
collecting tastes. Appraisal services are available, and they have a museum quality framing service on site. I have all my photography framed
at Gallery One Frames, their frame shop.” —Steve Hudgens, arts patron
Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden late 1950s
Julie Lazarus, Venice waterforms C, mouthblown glass, 11 x 35 in.