Claudia Webb Betti (née Mary Claudia Webb) was a Professor Emeritus of Art at North Texas State University from 1967 to 1989. She was a prolific artist and a beloved professor.

black and white photograph of woman sitting with legs crossed on a couch. She wears a white dress, and a table with lamp is beside her with a geometric painting hanging on the wall behind her.

Claudia Webb Betti, 1959.

Betti grew up in Abilene, TX, and began practicing art at a young age. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Texas State College for Women in 1945, and went on to study at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree. At the end of her Master’s Degree program she won the Bryan Lathrop Foreign Travel Fellowship, allowing her to travel to France and Italy to study painting between 1955 and 1957. While in Italy, she met and married her first husband, Franco Betti.

Betti taught art throughout her career, beginning by teaching adult art classes while studying in Chicago. She returned to teaching at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, TX in 1963, where she stayed until 1967, when she became a professor at North Texas State University. In 1975, Betti took on the role of Undergraduate Coordinator in the art department, and in 1977 she took on the role of Co-Coordinator for the Core Program. Betti is well known in the art education world for co-authoring one of the top instructional drawing books in the U.S., Drawing: A Contemporary Approach. She co-authored this text with noted North Texas State University Art Professor Teel Sale.

Betti was a prolific artist, and continued to work and show her work throughout her time teaching. She participated in many faculty and group exhibitions, as well as curated solo exhibitions. Her work focused on abstractions, line and color, examples of which can be seen in these black and yellow paintings from a series she created for an NTSU research grant.

small newspaper clipping with a single column of text.

“Painting Exhibit Evolves At NT” clipping from The Denton Record Chronicle, n.d..

color photograph of a rectangular painting with wide black boarders at he top and bottom. the center is yellow with abstract black painting throughout. on a black section in the middle a square of black has been removed to reveal yellow beneath.

Photo of painting from Black and Yellow Series, 1974.

photo of black and yellow painting. there are wide black borders at the top and bottom on the canvas. an amorphous black shape is painted beginning within the top border and extending three tenticles into the bottom border. the background in the center is yellow, with a large yellow square in the center of the black shape.

Photo of painting from Black and Yellow Series, 1974.

Other series of her work include the Duat Series and the Numinous Word Series.

white paper with a rectangle at the center where lines of cursive handwriting are filled in with black and dark blue colors to create a water like effect. two small red oval shapes are in the top right corner of the colored section.

Photo of Journey into the Duat: Cycle 1, n.d.

photograph of painting. the canvas has abstract shapes created by large loops of handwriting around the surface. the handwriting is outlined with white, while the much of the lower and upper empty sections of the painting are filled with black, and the more centered open areas filled with a reddish brown.

Photograph of Numinous Word VI, 1975

See the full contents of the Claudia Webb Betti Collection on The Portal to Texas History.

2 Responses to “Art Professor Claudia Webb Betti”

  1. Duke M. Horn

    Pretty interesting work. Would stand shoulder to shoulder to any contemporary’s abstract expressionists’ work of today. Probably overlooked more because of her gender back in those days.

    • Antonella Betti Smith

      I am her daughter, and I would agree with that. Mom was ahead of her time in so many ways!


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