For Immediate Release: May 15, 2012
Sen. John Ford introduces his colleagues from Phillips 66. Pictured
H.J. Reed, Dan Gilliam, Stan Baughn and artist Wayne Cooper, Preservation
Fund president Charles Ford, Rep. Steve Martin and Rep. Earl Sears.
Artist Wayne Cooper talks about his painting.
A portrait of Frank Phillips, founder of the Phillips Petroleum
Company, was dedicated Wednesday
in the Senate. Pictured L-R: Phillips 66 State Government Relations
Manager HJ Reed, sponsor Rep.
Earl Sears, Rep. Steve Martin, artist Wayne Cooper, sponsor Sen.
John Ford, Preservation Fund
president Charles Ford, Phillips 66 Finance Processes and Controls
Manager Dan Gilliam and
Phillips 66 Director of Community Relations Stan Baughn.
Senate unveils portrait of oil entrepreneur, Frank Phillips
The Senate unveiled the latest artwork commissioned
by the Oklahoma State Senate Preservation Fund Wednesday. The
portrait of oil entrepreneur and Phillips Petroleum Company founder,
Frank Phillips, was painted by renowned Oklahoma artist Wayne
Cooper and sponsored by Sen. John Ford, Rep. Earl Sears, Rep.
Steve Martin, ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66.
Before serving in the Senate, Sen. Ford had a 34-year career with
the Phillips Petroleum Company so he was pleased to honor its
“This is something myself and my colleagues that represent
the Bartlesville area have wanted to do for years. Frank Phillips
was so important to the history of
Oklahoma and the history of our state Capitol,” said Sen.
Ford, R-Bartlesville. “We felt this was important to honor
his life and many contributions. It is representative of our districts
and important for the Capitol to have a portrait of Uncle Frank,
as he’s known to those who work for the company. This is
an exciting addition to the Capitol art program and I’m
so honored to be a part of it.”
Frank Phillips was born in Scotia, Nebraska to Lucinda and Lewis
Franklin Phillips. In February 1897 he married Jane Gibson, daughter
of banker John Gibson. Shortly after getting married, Jane’s
father asked Phillips to join him in the bond business. During
a business trip in St. Louis, Phillips encountered C.B. Larabee,
an old friend from Iowa. He was serving as a Methodist missionary
to the Osage Indians west of Bartlesville in Indian Territory.
The area, which is now Osage County, Oklahoma, was rich in oil.
What proved to be a decades-long boom was just getting under way.
Later that year, after Phillips and Gibson made two trips to Bartlesville,
Phillips and his younger brother L.E. Phillips organized the Anchor
Oil & Gas Company with Gibson’s assistance. Anchor opened
an office in Bartlesville in 1905, secured a driller and drilled
it first wildcat well, the Holland No. 1. The men struck oil on
June 23, 1905.
Former Senator Charles Ford is the President of the Preservation
Fund and has commissioned more than 70 paintings and other types
of artwork for the State Capitol depicting important people and
events in Oklahoma’s history. He explained that Frank Phillips
sponsored the first artwork, The Pro Patria, in 1928. The three
murals were painted by Thomas Gilbert White and commemorate the
tragedies and triumphs of World War I. The main mural is located
in the 4th floor rotunda over the grand staircase and represents
the courage and sacrifice of a brave soldier answering his country's
call to war. The right and left panels honor fallen soldiers including
those from Oklahoma.
“This is a very important person we’re recognizing,
one that did a lot for the state Capitol. There was no art in
the building until he sponsored the first piece so he essentially
started the art program,” said Ford. “The Phillips’
family has a wonderful legacy in the state of Oklahoma, and I’m
so pleased that their contributions to the state will forever
be remembered through this beautiful portrait.”
The Phillips’ brothers second and third wells were dry holes,
and they barely had enough money left to drill a fourth well,
the Anna Anderson. The Anna Anderson was a gusher, and the successful
well enabled the brothers to raise $100,000 through the sale of
stock. The Anna Anderson was the first of 80 consecutive producing
wells drilled for the brothers’ company.
“I can’t think of a more fitting tribute for Frank
Phillips,” said Rep Sears, R-Bartlesville. “He was
a respected businessman who did so much for the state through
his banks and oil companies, but then he shared his success by
giving back to the people through his financial donation and art
contributions at the state Capitol and other places around the
In 1905, Frank and L.E. Phillips formed the Lewcinda Oil Company,
with brother Waite. Later that same year, Frank and L.E. formed
a bank, Citizens Bank and Trust, in Bartlesville with $50,000
capital. They also acquired a rival bank, the Bartlesville National
Bank, and consolidated the two under the latter name.
The bank later became the First National Bank of Bartlesville.
“The oil industry shaped our state and remains a driving
force for it and the entire nation, so it was fitting to honor
the career and contributions of the founder of one of the state’s
original and most successful oil companies,” said Rep. Martin,
R-Bartlesville. “He left an indelible mark on our state’s
history and I’m pleased that visitors to the Capitol will
be able to learn more about him through this painting.”
In 1916, the two brothers decided that the boom-bust instability
of the oil business was not for them. They made plans to open
a bank in Kansas City that would be the cornerstone of a chain
of banks throughout the Midwest. Before those plans could be carried
out, the U.S. became involved in World War I. With the price of
oil quickly increasing from 40 cents a barrel to more than $1
a barrel, the brothers decided to consolidate their holdings in
a single company, Phillips Petroleum Company. They incorporated
on June 13, 1917 under Delaware law. The new company had assets
of $3 million, 27 employees and leases throughout Oklahoma and
Frank led the company as its president until 1939 when he named
Kenneth S. “Boots” Adams to succeed him. The company
reported record profits of $24.1 million the previous year. As
Phillips turned over the presidency he became the company’s
first chairman of the board, a position he held until he retired
at the age of 76 in 1949.
Artist Wayne Cooper was the first to participate in the Senate
Art Preservation program.
“It’s a great honor to paint someone like Frank,”
said Cooper. “The biggest thing though is to thank all of
the sponsors we have because without them, we wouldn’t have
an art collection here in the Capitol.”
This and other art commissioned by the Oklahoma State Senate Historical
Preservation Fund can be found on the Senate website at www.oksenate.gov.