Selections from the Legendary Collection of Sonny Burt and Bob Butler

Selections from the Legendary
Collection of Sonny Burt and Bob Butler

August 23 – October 18, 2014


August 1, 2014—Talley Dunn Gallery is pleased to announce a tribute exhibition featuring artwork

from the collection of Sonny Burt and Robert Butler, which will open with a reception for the artists on Saturday, August 23rd from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.  The exhibition will be on view in the main gallery through Saturday, October 18th.


Together more than forty years, Sonny Burt and Robert Butler supported Dallas’ arts community with a generous spirit throughout the 80s, 90s and early 2000s.  Beginning with the purchase of a work on paper modestly titled “Head” by Alexander Calder in 1951 for $75.00, Burt and Butler built a collection of approximately 550 artworks created by more than 300 different artists.  Highlights included strong pieces by internationally recognized artists such as Christo, Jenny Holzer, and Julian Schnabel, and the collectors enjoyed living with the pieces as much as sharing them with friends and guests to their home.


Even with these signature artworks, the majority of their collection celebrates the efforts of Texas artists, both recognized and unknown.  Burt and Butler bought artwork not only from well-known galleries in Houston, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Dallas, but they also loved to purchase pieces from the artists’ coop space, 500X, and directly from studios.  Instead of focusing on how much a work would appreciate in value over time, Burt and Butler acquired artwork that they both loved, often with a great sense of humor and playful spirit.  In many cases, they bought pieces from the artists’ first gallery exhibitions and hosted the post-opening events at their unique home.  Over the years, Burt and Butler became lifelong friends with many artists and continued to buy artwork in depth to complement their collection.


With Butler’s passing in 2007 and Burt’s death last fall, the arts community has been saddened at such a big loss, and the gallery’s exhibition is organized to celebrate their patronage of the artists and arts community that they cherished.  All of the artwork in the exhibition is available for purchase, and proceeds from their estate will be donated to benefit the Booker T. Washington School for Visual and Performing Arts.

As Talley Dunn wrote earlier this year about the couple, “Sonny and Bob showed me how collectors could support artists and an art community.  For just a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, a purchase of art could be just the encouragement an artist might need to continue on their path.  They shared with me the fun and love that they had with art, and the friendships that they made.  I learned what collecting could be, and they taught me how to be supportive of artists.   They opened my eyes to the potential of collecting and being an art dealer.”


While the gallery exhibition cannot include all of the collection due to limitations of space, the show includes artwork by John Alexander, The Art Guys, Scott Barber, David Bates, Michael Ray Charles, Bill Davenport, Patrick Faulhaber, Joseph Glasco, Billy Hassell, Rachel Hecker, Tracy Hicks, Luis Jimenez, Matt Magee, Pam Nelson, Trish Nickell, Aaron Parazette, John Pomara, Linda Ridgway, Marcos Rosales, Rusty Scruby, Isaac Smith, Julie Speed, James Surls, David Szafranski, and Mel Ziegler, among many others.


Talley Dunn Gallery is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm and

by appointment.   Please contact Beth Taylor at the gallery (214/521-9898) or via e-mail at for additional information and visuals of the exhibition.