James "Jack" Wesley Boynton

January 12, 1928April 5, 2010

James "Jack" Wesley Boynton, an artist, teacher and a key figure in the post-World War II Houston art scene, died Monday after a bout with lung cancer. He was 82.

Born in 1928 in Fort Worth, Boynton attended public schools in Fort Worth, Dallas and Houston, graduating from Lamar High School and earning bachelor's and master's degrees from Texas Christian University.

He began exhibiting his paintings in 1950 and moved to Houston to teach at the University of Houston in 1955. The same year, he won the Purchase Prize in the annual Texas exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and had a solo exhibition at the Fort Worth Art Museum.

"(Artist) Dick Wray used to say that in the '50s, if Dorothy Hood, Richard Stout, he and I had been riding in the same car and it had gotten hit, it would have wiped out art in Houston," Boynton told historian Sarah Reynolds in a 2006 interview. "There were not a lot of people (then) that were doing anything very avant garde, you know."

Boynton garnered national attention in the 1950s and 1960s for his modernist, largely abstract paintings, which MFAH curator Alison de Lima Greene described as "introspective, visionary landscapes." He was included in surveys of young American artists at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. In 1957, he was one of 17 artists to represent the United States at the Brussels World Fair.

After teaching at UH from 1955 to 1957, Boynton taught at the San Francisco Art Institute from 1960 to 1962, returning to Houston after his contract was completed. In 1969, he was instrumental in creating a studio art department at the University of St. Thomas, where he served as a professor until 1985.

While the 1950s and 1960s marked the height of his national fame, he exhibited in Houston and Fort Worth galleries throughout his career. In 1980, the Amarillo Art Center organized Jack Boynton: Retro/Spectrum, which traveled to museums in Tyler, Waco, Abilene and Beaumont. In 1989, TCU mounted Homecoming: A Thumbnail Retrospective, and in 2009 William Reaves Fine Art, a Houston gallery, presented Six Decades of Jack Boynton.

His work is owned by the MFAH, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney and Guggenheim museums, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Amon Carter Museum and the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Conn.

Dr. James F. Boynton of Houston described his father as a quiet man who pursued his art for creative reasons and not for financial gain. "He didn't toot his own horn," the son said Monday.

Other survivors include his wife, Sharon Boynton; two daughters from a previous marriage, Betsy Boynton of St. Petersburg, Fla. and Amy Boynton-Sims of Vancouver, Wash.; and four grandchildren. A Memorial Service will be held 3:00 p.m.Thursday, April 15, 2010 at Bethany Christian Church, 3223 Westheimer.


  • Memorial Service Thursday, April 15, 2010

James "Jack" Wesley Boynton

have a memory or condolence to add?


May 7, 2011

To the Wesley family. I have become a colletor of Jack's prints. He was really ahead of his time. I enjoy looking deep into his work. Very gifted and talented man.
Jeff Fowler/Houston TX

kathy hall

April 17, 2010

I loved getting to know him even if it was little by little as he walked past my house. Huge loss to the neighborhood and the art community. Sharon, my sincerest condolences for your loss.

April 15, 2010

Dear Sharon, Jimmy, Betsy and Amy: I was shocked and saddened to learn about Jack's death. Jack was one of the most talented and kindest individuals with whom I've had the pleasure to work. He will be deeply missed. His humor, talent and his legacy will live on through all of you. Love, Lynn Goode

Chris Norberg

April 12, 2010

My condolences go out to Betsy. I was a classmate of yours in High School - graduate of 1971.

margot cooper

April 11, 2010

Dr. Boynton,

May the memories you have of your father carry you through the days ahead. It's not an easy road, but the memories will make you smile. My daughter Katie was one of your patients. She was bitten by a dog and you stitched her lip. When she woke up, she said "Oh my, doctor you have the bluest eyes I have ever seen". She named you Dr. Blue Eyes. Every time we came for a check up, she would tell the receptionist that she had an appt with Dr. Blue Eyes. Everytime she called you that, it made you smile. I hope that soon you will think of your dad and you smile. God Bless you and your family. You are in our prayers.

E. Goree

April 11, 2010

To the Wesley family, please accept my deepest sympathy please find comfort in reading Psalms 37:11 my prayers are with you.

Irene Herd

April 11, 2010

Dear Sharon and Family,
We are very sorry to hear of Jack's death. Many good times shared and remembered, block parties, art shows and visits. Wish we could be with you for Memorial Service. Will be thinking of all of you.
David and Irene Herd and family.

Grayson Moss

April 11, 2010

My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort. I was in the choir at First with your Father, Morrow, one of the finest men ever.

Dan & Mary Ratliff

April 6, 2010

Sharon & Family,
We were so sorry to hear about Jack's death. Please know that you all are in our thoughts and prayers. So many fond memories we shared. Dan & Mary Alice Ratliff and Ann, Gretchen, Karen, Lisa & Bill and families.