Painter, James Donald (1906–1988)

By: Lamar Lentz

Type: Biography

Published: May 1, 1995

James Donald Painter, artist, was born on November 21, 1906, in Louisville, Kentucky. He studied art in Little Rock, in Chicago, and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. His early works were exhibited at the Arkansas Art Center, Ohio University, the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, the Beaumont Art Museum, and the Houston Jewish Community Center. He is best known for his later works, which concentrate on views of nature, historic buildings, and period interiors of historic Round Top, Texas. In addition to his Round Top subjects, his body of work includes numerous historic Texas sites and structures, including the Capitol, a series of paintings of San José y San Miguel de Aguayo Mission and Nuestra Señora del Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga Mission. His rural regional paintings were featured in one-man shows at the Meredith Long Gallery in Houston in 1976, 1978, 1979, and 1982 and in group exhibitions annually from 1976 through 1983. Painter is listed among the artists of contemporary representational art in Texas in the Library and Resource Center at Texas Woman's University. His work A Little Schubert and Tea was commissioned by the International Festival-Institute at Round Top as an official Texas Sesquicentennial project in 1986. The Festival-Institute at Round Top honored him with its inaugural solo exhibition in June 1987. As a visual artist living and working in Round Top, he revived a lost tradition that had been established by Mathias Melchior, who settled in Round Top in 1868. Painter died on July 10, 1988, and was buried in Bethlehem Lutheran Cemetery at Round Top.

Files, International Festival-Institute at Round Top.


  • Visual Arts
  • Painting

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Lamar Lentz, “Painter, James Donald,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 19, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995