Frank X. Tolbert 2
Artist and son of a Texas legend, Frank X. Tolbert 2, continued the legacy of his father, both in the artistic realm and the unique world of Texas chili. His works have been showcased in renowned museums such as the Modern of Fort Worth and Dallas Museum of Art (DMA). Tolbert 2’s work featured colorful, stylized renderings of birds, his unique artistic eye captured in pieces such as "Bluejay with Peanut" (2017).
Frank X. Tolbert 2 embraced his Texas roots, reflected both in his popularity as an artist and his personal connection to the state's cultural events, most notably the Terlingua Chili Cookoff. This event was the brainchild of his father, Frank X. Tolbert, who sought to immortalize the traditional Texas chili recipe and engage the community in a light-hearted culinary competition. The Cookoff, which began in 1967 in Terlingua, Texas, formed an integral part of Tolbert 2's upbringing and offered a rich, cultural context that influenced his later works.
On July 13, at his home in Houston, Tolbert passed away at the age of 77. Friends remember him as a man blessed with a legendary wit and gentlemanly manners, a person who found humor in any situation. Despite hailing from a legendary Texas family, Tolbert managed to carve out his own identity, distinguishing himself through his distinctive artistic style.
Former art critic for the Houston Post, Susan Chadwick, is among the many mourning the loss of Tolbert 2, describing his work as "witty and imaginative". His pieces often delved into themes of mortality, self, birds, nature, and of course, his Texas roots.
Tolbert 2, along with his wife and fellow artist, Ann Stautberg, shared decades of travel, crisscrossing the globe, always carrying their love for their home state with them. In recent years, he turned his focus to the Texas Bird Project," a series of colorful, stylized renderings of native Texas birds.
Despite being born in Washington, D.C., the younger Tolbert spent considerable time exploring Texas with his legendary father. He followed in his father's footsteps, contributing to the legacy of the Terlingua Chili Cookoff and continuing the tradition of celebrating the unique flavors of Texas.
The Tolbert family's commitment to Texas extends beyond chili. Kathleen Tolbert Ryan, Frank 2’s younger sister, continues to operate Tolbert’s Chili Parlor, initially founded by their father in downtown Dallas.
Frank 2, an alumnus of Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas and Texas Tech University where he studied art, is survived by his wife and sister. The Tolbert family has asked for donations in Frank 2’s memory to be made to Glasstire, a nonprofit Texas visual art magazine, a fitting tribute to a man who gave so much to the art world of Texas.
Rest in peace, Frank X. Tolbert 2.