Last updated: 10/5/2011
Houston, Texas
Street Address
1331 Lamar Ave, Suite 1450
Houston, TX 77010
Mailing Address
1331 Lamar Ave, Suite 1450
Houston, TX 77010
phone: 713-650-1246
fax: 713-655-1866
Museum Type(s)
Laura Lee, Curator
phone: 713-753-1284

Previously the Torch Collection of Torch Energy Advisors Incorporated, the Visions of the West is the assembly of important art, artifacts and archives from western North America collected by J.P. Bryan throughout his 30-year career in the energy industry. Visions includes pieces from the Torch Collection of Torch Energy Advisors Incorporated, the private assemblies of Mr. Bryan, the Bryan Texana Foundation, and the historic Gage Hotel.


Torch Energy’s founder J.P. Bryan started collecting in 1969, when he began amassing rare and first-edition books, documents and maps about Texas and the desert Southwest. Included are histories of the Spanish in the New World, early Texas, extensive Galveston material, early Texas currency and periodicals, a postal history and Stephen F. Austin papers.

The Collection expanded significantly in 1988 when Torch Energy moved its offices to spacious headquarters in downtown Houston. Purchases grew to include fine and decorative art, antique equestrian gear and American firearms, Civil and Indian War militaria, textiles, vintage and contemporary photography, Mexican religious art, pre-Columbiana and costumes. The fine art spans regional art history from 1850-1950, including itinerant and military artists; topographers; landscape painters; Santa Fe, Taos and Dallas Nine artists; Texas modernists and untrained artists. The Collection now covers such seemingly disparate areas as reservation-period beading of Native peoples, ephemeral festival art of Mexico, artworks by trained and untrained artists, New World exploration maps and immigrant accounts of early Texas.

Artifact Collections

The Collection has art and artifacts from western North America.

ART: Regional art from appx. 1800 forward, Mexican religious art, both vintage and contemporary photography, Native Americana (500 pcs.)

ARTIFACTS: Nineteenth century militaria, antique equestrian gear, pre-Columbian earthenware, numismatics (730 pcs.)

FIREARMS: Major American firearms manufacturers represented including Colt, Smith & Wesson, Winchester and others. Dates from 1840+. (146 pcs.)

MAPS: European depictions of the Northern Hemisphere from 1540 forward and early maps of Texas and western North America. (72 pcs.)

Research Collections

The Collection has extensive documentary and library holdings on regional and Southwestern history.

DOCUMENTS: Autograph collection ( 131 pieces); Sul Ross collection (24); Memorabilia (postcards, 123); Frank Reaugh ephemera (100 pieces);Barho collection (150): Texas postal history (1000 pieces); Telegraph and Texas Register (97 pieces); Texas currency collection (261); Stephen F. Austin collection (70).

BOOKS: Comprehensive Texas and Southwestern rare and first edition reference library ( 2,600 volumes.)

Educational Programs

There are many ways to see and experience the Visions of the West Collection. Portions of the Collection are installed in Four Houston Center in downtown Houston, and guided tours are available only by appointment Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visions’ extensive archives are open to researchers and scholars by appointment. And a recent book, Visions of the West, documents the vast colections of two-dimensional and three-dimensional fine and decorative artworks.


Willson, Harry. Southwest Bookshelf. New Mexico Magazine, November 2000, p. 12.

Kever, Jeannie. "Connections and Collections." Texas, Houston Chronicle Magazine, Nov. 21, 1999, pp. 8-13.

Lane, Anne Marie. "Book Reviews: Arts and Humanities." Library Journal, Oct. 15, 1999, p. 67.

Corddry, Dana. "Hop-Along Warhol." PaperCity, October 1999, p. 6.

Rutledge, Teri Mae. "Feminist Bookstore News", September 1999, pp. 109-110.

Greco, JoAnn. "Art With a Mission." Art & Antiques, February 1999, pp. 64-71.

"The Torch Collection." Cowboys & Indians, January 1999, p. 34.

Aber, Linda. "Lighting A Torch for Tejas." Fort Bend Lifestyle, September 1998, pp. 32-8.

Calton, Virginia. "History Comes Alive in the Torch Collection." News on the Downtown District, Spring 1997, pp. 1-6.

Anspon, Catherine D. "The Torch Collection Revealed," Public News, April 16, 1997, p. 10.

Ewing, Tersah. "True Grit." Forbes, Jan. 2, 1995, pp. 78-9.

"Art Matters." Producer and director Quin Mathews. 10:40 min. Dallas: KERA FM, Jan. 6, 2000.

"Torch Art " J. P. Bryan.” Producer and director Dean Dalton. 9:52 min. Houston: KUHF 88.7 FM, Dec. 7, 1999.

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