David Cargill was born in Huntsville, Texas in 1929 and spent his early childhood in Navasota, Texas. He moved with his family to Beaumont in 1935. The artist first enrolled at Rice University from 1946 - 1948 where he studied pre-med. By the fall of 1948, he had changed career paths and began studying industrial design at Pratt Institute in New York where he met his wife Patricia Cargill. The Cargills were married in 1950, and in 1951 returned to Beaumont where Cargill received his first commissions for portrait busts and murals. The artist received his Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1955 and soon thereafter embarked on travels to Europe. In 1962 he returned to Europe to cast commissions in Italy.
Having been an integral part of the Southeast Texas arts community as both an artist and a supporter of the arts for well over 50 years, Cargill’s sculpture has helped define the public image of Beaumont. He is a historically and regionally important artist who has graced the region with major, large-scale sculpture, including sacred and secular commissions like those located at the Beaumont Civic Center, the downtown Beaumont Public Library and at Beaumont's Saint Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church. He is best known in Southeast Texas for the imposing bust of Mirabeau B. Lamar at Lamar University in Beaumont. The bust is both a campus focal point and an iconic symbol of the university itself. Other very important commissions include the Rogers Brothers sculpture on the grounds of AMSET and an impressive series of Stations of the Cross sculptures at the Chapel of St. Basil, University St. Thomas, Houston. Cargill was recognized nationally and was awarded The American Institute of Architects Religious Art Award for his work at the Chapel of St. Basil for Excellence in Religious Art.
Throughout his artistic career, Cargill received numerous awards both locally and nationally and graced the city of Beaumont and other locales with his majestic and humanistic sculptures. Cargill's sculpture contains visual elements that juxtapose both the abstract and objective. His work is remarkable in its spiritual and expressive qualities. He works in a variety of materials including wood, marble, terra cotta, stone, lead and bronze.
Selected Biographical and Career Highlights
1929 Born Huntsville, Texas. Lived early childhood in Navasota, Texas.
1935 Moved to Beaumont.
1946-48 Pre-med, Rice University.
1948-51 Industrial design, Pratt Institute, New York.
1950 Married Patricia Chickowsky. Sculpture class at Columbia University.
1951 Returned to Beaumont. Two-man exhibition, Beaumont Art Museum. Executed first commissions: portrait busts and mural.
1952 B.A. in in Industrial Design, Pratt Institute. Taught sculpture class at Beaumont Art Museum School. Numerous commissions, including St. Michael’s Orthodox Church. Free-lance advertising design. Taught private classes.
1954-55 M.F.A. in Sculpture, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Elected to Board of Directors, Beaumont Art Museum.
1955-56 Traveled, studied and worked in Europe. Did first series of Bambini figures. Ton and a half marble version of Interlude III begun.
1956 Returned to Beaumont. Daughter, Ida Katherine, born. Completed 10 foot mahogany Family, commissioned by First Federal Savings & Loan Association, Beaumont.
1957 Began Studio construction. Extensive commissions for St. Elizabeth Parish started. Work reproduced Life Magazine, April 29th, 1957. Purchase Award, Torso, Beaumont Art Museum Annual Exhibition. Two-man exhibition, Texas Tech University, Lubbock.
1958 Completed Last Supper, five ton marble commission for Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Completed mahogany and steel Cyclist, circulated in exhibition to ten museums by American Federation of Arts; reviewed by Emily Genauer, House & Garden, July 1958.
1959 Daughter Chancel, born.
1960 Instructor of Art, Lamar University.
1962 Returned to Europe to cast several commissions at Guastini Foundry in Italy.
1963 Employed J.R. Wheeler as assistant.
1964-65 Began foundry construction. Completed commissions: ten-foot bronze for Trinity Methodist Church; heroic head of Mirabeau Lamar for Lamar University.
1965 The Family, reproduced on cover of Southwest Review, Autumn 1965.
1968 Began home construction. Completed bronze Horse and Rider, installed at Stemmons Towers, Dallas. Invited to show, Sphere of Art, Hemisphere, San Antonio.
1969 Completed bronze Girl on Fish and Asia.
1970-71 Work reproduced House & Garden, August 1970. Completed the bronzes, Shell, Kudu, Rhinoceros with Children and Giraffe.
1971 One-man exhibition, Valley House Gallery, Dallas. Invited to show in Belgian Pavillion Building by San Antonio Art League.
1972 Began work on commission for St. Joseph’s Church, Port Arthur. Four-man exhibition, Longview Museum & Arts Center.
1974 Completed large bronze commission, Passengers From Earth, for Beaumont Central Library.
Selected Commissions and Public Sites
• Beaumont Art Museum, Beaumont
• Beaumont Club, Beaumont
• Beaumont Public Library, Beaumont
• Beaumont State Bank, Beaumont
• Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Beaumont
• Catholic Diocese, Beaumont
• Children’s Medical Center, Dallas
• Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
• Dallas City Zoo, Dallas
• Ethyl Corporation Building, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
• First Federal Savings and Loan Association Building, Beaumont
• First National Bank, Dallas
• Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Beaumont
• Gates Memorial Library, Port Arthur
• Lamar University, Beaumont
• Mississippi Club, Jackson, Mississippi
• Oak Cliff Savings and Loan, Dallas
• St. Anthony’s Cathedral, Beaumont
• Et. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, Port Neches, Texas
• St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Port Arthur
• St. Michael’s Orthodox Church, Beaumont
• St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Beaumont
• St. Thomas University, Houston
• San Antonio Art League, San Antonio
• Selwin School, Denton, Texas
• Seventh and Freeway Building, Beaumont
• Texas Fine Arts Association, Austin
• Trinity Methodist Church, Beaumont
• Wells, Duncan and Beard, Beaumont