DescriptionBROR UTTER (American, 1913-1993)
Palatine Hill III, 1957
Oil on linen
28 x 36 inches (71.1 x 91.4 cm)
Signed and dated lower right: Bror Utter 2/'57
Pennsylvania Academy, Philadelphia, 1957;
Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, 1958;
Fort Worth Art Center, Fort Worth, "Bror Utter Retrospective Exhibition", 1961.
S. Canty, A Retrospective Exhibition of the Work of Bror Utter Under the Auspices of the Forth Worth Art Association, Texas, 1961, no. 73.
Bror Utter was one of the leaders of the artist group known as the Fort Worth Circle. He painted Palatine Hill III in 1957. It was probably composed from sketches in his notebook, often watercolored and beautiful works of art in their own right, made when he had traveled to Rome four years before. In 1961, this painting was part of the Retrospective Exhibition of the Work of Bror Utter Under the Auspices of the Fort Worth Art Association, curated by the legendary art patron Sam Cantey III. It was reproduced in the catalogue for which Cantey also wrote the introduction.
This excellent painting depicts the Imperial building complex which was the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome upon which the city was built. The historic Roman subject was the perfect vehicle for Utter's favorite styles and themes. The remaining ruins rise out of the rocky hill. They are a skeleton of massive, crumbing columns and empty arches. Utter was always fascinated with Roman arches, niches and compartments. He also uses a distorted grid structure to create mismatching planes throughout the composition. This kind of abstraction is almost always present in his skies. The painting's precariously harmonized and eccentric colors are hallmarks of his sophisticated style. All of these elements combine in Palatine Hill III to create the surreal quality, brooding mood, and sense of timelessness that characterize his work.
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