DescriptionBror Utter (American, 1913-1993)
Siena Duomo, Italy, 1956
Watercolor on paper
18-1/2 x 26-3/8 inches (47.0 x 67.0 cm) (sheet)
Signed and dated lower right: 7/56 / Bror Utter
The Estate of William Ernest Chilton
Bror Utter painted Sienna Duomo in 1956. He probably composed it from the sketches he made while visiting Italy a few years before. The subject is the perfect vehicle for some Utter's favorite styles and themes. He was always fascinated with the arches, niches, and inventive architecture of the Italian Renaissance. In this watercolor Utter uses a distorted grid structure to create mismatching planes throughout the composition. This kind of abstraction is almost always present in his skies and is only enhanced by the unusual linear quality of the striped building. The painting's precariously harmonized and eccentric colors are hallmarks of his signature style. All of these elements combine in Sienna Duomo to create the surreal quality, brooding mood, and sense of timelessness that characterize his work reputation as a brilliant watercolorist.
Utter was a leading member of a group of modernists called the Fort Worth Circle, who dominated the avant-garde art scene in the 1930s and 1940s and remained popular throughout his career. According to one newspaper clipping, "two things chiefly distinguish Utter's work. One is his sophisticated way with color and texture. The other is his ability to discover extraordinary things in ordinary forms and express his discoveries with grace and wit." This offering of works by Utter in this sale shows the range of his endeavors from the early 1940s the mid-1960s. Despite the differences between these paintings, they are still distinctly recognizable as his work.
Utter was born in Fort Worth and studied under Sallie Gillespie as a teenager. While working in his father's lithograph plant in the 1930s, he studied under Wade Jolly at the Fort Worth School of Fine Arts. In 1940, he attended the Colorado Fine Arts Center. Utter taught at numerous Fort Worth institutions, including the Fort Worth Art Center and Texas Wesleyan College, while also working as a full-time painter. Bror Utter's paintings have been extensively exhibited in the United States at institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the San Francisco Museum of Art and is represented in the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art; the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth; the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; and the Denver Art Museum.
There appears to be moderate mat burn along extreme edges as well as a few bumps; light overall discoloration, however, work was recently cleaned.
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