BROR ALEXANDER UTTER (American, 1913-1993)
    Presence, October 1957
    Oil on canvas
    24 x 30 inches (61.0 x 76.2 cm)
    Signed and dated lower right: Bror Utter 10/57
    Inscribed on stretcher: Presence

    Bror 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.

    Presence is from a series of paintings Utter created in the early 1950s. As trends in modern art became more nonfigurative, he remained primarily a figure painter by developing what he called embellished forms. Thus his abstract forms retained their figural spirit. Presence depicts four birdlike creatures that first appear in a painting titled Encounter, which can be found in the catalogue for Utter's 1953 solo exhibition at the Fort Worth Public Library. The Amon Carter Museum of American Art has a similar painting from the series called Metamorphosis III (Assembly of Birds), 1953. It is remarkably similar to Presence and, while the colors may be different, both of the paintings display the precariously harmonized and eccentric tones that characterize his sophisticated style.

    Condition Report*:

    Very good condition.

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    May, 2011
    14th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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