Victor Lallier ultimately became known as the premier portrait painter of twentieth century Texas. His work was exhibited and admired across Texas, and reminders of his lasting legacy can still be seen throughout the state and beyond. Having painted over 2,000 portraits in his career, Lallier enjoyed great success in his life and should be remembered for memorializing so many great citizens of Texas and the United States.
Born on April 22, 1912 in Fort Worth, Texas, Victor Alvin Lallier (fig. 7) had the fortune to visit many museums and galleries across the United States at a young age with his father, a railroad worker and amateur artist. These visits deeply influenced Lallier as a young child; soon he was carving figures out of soap and drawing cowboys and horses from memory, which he gave to schoolmates.Lallier grew up in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas and attended Bryan Street High School where he was known for his sense of humor. His senior quote from the 1928 Bryan Street High School Yearbook, "A man of wit!," shows his humorous side. After high school, Lallier began a year-long apprenticeship with artists Frank Calder in Dallas and Hobart Britton in Atlanta, Georgia. He then enrolled in classes at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas,anticipating a degree in art advertising, which he had studied with Calder and Britton. Lallier discovered, however, that his true passion was sketching from life. He sharpened his skills by sketching friends and family in his spare time.
In 1931, he took an art class at SMU under the direction of Olive Donaldson; this would be a pivotal point in the artist‟s career. She saw in him an inherent ability to draw faces and gave him a copy of John Vanderpoel‟s book on human anatomy. Under Donaldson, Lallier experimented with charcoal, pastel, and oil paint. Lallier was also inducted to Alpha Rho Tau, an honorary art fraternity .
[Biographical information by Erin L. Wolfe, from "Unveiling a Mystery: The Victor Lallier Collection," Master's Thesis, Baylor University, 2009.]