Intimate Modernism: Fort Worth Circle Artists in the 1940s

Front Cover
Amon Carter Museum, 2008 - Art - 205 pages
The art critic Dave Hickey once identified the Forth Worth Circle as “Texas’ first indigenous group of consciously cosmopolitan and irrefutably modern artists,” Their work, he wrote, “represents the fruit of a special time in the culture of the western United States” (Artspace, winter 1986 -87).

This book chronicles the Forth Worth Circle’s distinctive output during the 1940s, the decade of their genesis and greatest innovation. These “genuine citizens of the world,” as Hickey called them, possessed an unconventional vision that radically sidestepped the traditional art of post-Depression Texas. The members of the Circle responded to modern art by created a unique aesthetic based on contemporary surrealism and abstraction, and they did so drawing from their own fertile imaginations.

In his essay on the Circle, Scott Grant Barker relates the personal and captivating history of these eleven young artists fro whom the standards of the day were no longer acceptable. Jane Myers writes to the aesthetic evolution of their work, including their artistic techniques and influences. The catalogue also includes succinct biographies, accompanied by photographs, of each fop the artists.

Among the legends and legendary figures in Forth Worth’s past – and there are many – the artists of the Fort Worth Circle occupy a special place as pioneers of modern art in a city that is today one of the preeminent art meccas in the United States. This catalogue, published by the Amon Carter Museum to coincide with an exhibition by the same title, will remain the definitive source of their art and history for years to come.

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Intimate modernism: Fort Worth Circle artists in the 1940s

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When thinking of the visual arts in Texas, one may think of Western art stereotypes such as regionalism (bucking broncos and stoic cowboys) or expensive modernism (the Rothko Chapel in Houston). This ... Read full review


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About the author (2008)

SCOTT GRANT BARKER is a native Texan and cultural historian who specialized in the art history of the City of Forth Worth. He has contributed to numerous exhibitions, including First Light: Local Art and the Fort Worth Public Library, 1901-1961 (2001); Working at the Limits: Mid – 20th Century Texas Sculpture by Gene Owens, Ed Storms and Charles T. Williams (2006); and Sallie Mummert and Her Students, 1925 – 1945 (2006). The Fort Worth Circle and their place in the art history of Texas has been a focus of his research for fifteen years.JANE MYERS is Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth. She is the author and coauthor of several publications, including George Bellows: The Artist and His Liothographs (1998); The Shores of a Dream: Yasuo Kuniyoshi’s Early Work in America (1996); An American Collection: Works from the Amon Carter Museum (2001); and Celebrating America: Masterworks from Texas Collections (2002).

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