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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 exhibition catalog, which offers a warm and perceptive portrait of bohemian Texas, is a marvelous introduction to a vibrant community of artists in Fort Worth during and after World War II. Two essays by cultural historians, highlights of the text, argue that the Fort Worth Circle was the first colony of artists in Texas to embrace a clearly nonregional (i.e., modernist) aesthetic. These artists were united more by affective ties than a common artistic vision. They were connected to trends in New York City and Europe, but their remoteness from major art centers lent a private quality to their art. For example, Dickson Reeder's stunning untitled portrait of fellow artist Sara Shannon depicts her showing an ace of spades. Reeder's clever use of pictorial space links Sara's forearms with a background that dramatically cants away from the viewer. With more than 130 full-color reproductions, the catalog also includes short biographies and photographs of the 11 artists of the Fort Worth Circle. Recommended for all libraries strong in the arts.
—Katherine C. Adams