Sweetie Ladd's Historic Fort Worth


Cissie Lale, author.

Sweetie Ladd was Fort Worth’s own “Grandma” Moses, a folk artist who captured the city’s history in watercolor and lithograph. Ladd didn’t simply draw the buildings or landmarks. She put them in an action setting. “The Day Fort Worth Burned” shows several young children watching the flames from a field. Two of the children are Sweetie Ladd and her sister, who were in that very field that day. Two young boys also watching could have been the Monnig brothers, Otto and Oscar. She remembered they were there that day.

In her sixties when she began painting, Ladd once told a fellow artist she didn’t know how she achieved her distinctive style. “Just paint poorly, dear,” she advised. In truth, she had attended painting workshops in Paris, Spain, and Mexico and studied under Fort Worth artist Bror Utter. After she took a class on perspective, her teacher advised her to discontinue formal training and paint what came naturally.

Sweetie Ladd’s paintings were shown at the Woman’s Club of Fort Worth and accepted in juried shows of the University of Texas at Arlington, the Fort Worth Art Museum, and the Texas Fine Arts Association. These historical paintings are now owned by the Fort Worth Public Library and have been reproduced with their cooperation.

Cissy Stewart Lale’s text elucidates each painting, explaining details and their historical significance. The book begins with brief essays on Mrs. Ladd and Fort Worth history.

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