The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book Making Houston Modern: The Life and Architecture of Howard Barnstone, edited by Barrie Scardino Bradley, Stephen Fox, and Michelangelo Sabatino, published by the University of Texas Press, expected August 2020.
Making Houston Modern Part Five
The Worst Thing That Can Happen: Gertrude and Howard
When Howard Barnstone landed in Texas in 1948, fresh out of Yale, it seemed as if he and Gertrude Levy were fated to meet in Houston’s contemporary art scene. With a job offer to teach at the new University of Houston architecture school, Howard moved to town and settled in. That was the opening scene in the marriage play starring Gertrude Levy and Howard Barnstone. Equal parts comedy of manners and domestic melodrama, the play’s action was driven by the protagonists’ complex psychologies, which sometimes produced uproariously funny situations and often profoundly wrenching ones. The setting for the drama was Houston at the midpoint of the twentieth century, a city emerging simultaneously as a booming business powerhouse and a burgeoning center for modern art and culture.