Fort Worth Circle Artists Highlights from Heritage Sale

// Published November 9, 2013 by Eric Miller

A number of large Julian Onderdonk canvases as well as works by Dickson Reeder and Blanch McVeigh highlight an upcoming Texas Art Auction at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. Some stand-out items in the sale include a series of works by Fort Worth Circle artist Veronica Helfensteller.

According to Atlee Phillips, director of Texas Art at Heritage, Helfensteller was commissioned to do a series of illustrations for a children’s book with an odd story-line. Phillips says while no copy of the book is available, two of the images were featured in the Intimate Modern exhibition at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in 2008.

Helfensteller Heritage CentaurSet to The Centaur Plays Croquet, a classic Louisiana short story by Lyle C. Saxon, the images have a surrealistic quality. The story is told through eight witnesses to a love affair between the young wife of a plantation owner and a centaur. The witnesses retell the story through their own prejudices leaving the reader with a mixed verdict on the woman’s fate (and on life in rural Louisiana).

Also in the auction, a work by Frank Klepper may have been influenced by Thomas Eakins’ Swimming. Previously called The Swimming Hole, it is likely Klepper saw the painting in Fort Worth, having been purchased by the Fort Worth Art Association in 1925.

Works by Dickson Reeder include Frieze II, a 1952 work exhibited in the 1988 TCU show “Dickson Reeder: A Retrospective Exhibition.” Reeder’s works had also been exhibited far beyond Fort Worth, in New York at the Weyhe Gallery and even shown in a 1952 exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Bror Utter HeritageA work by leading Fort Worth Circle artist Bror Utter remains untitled, yet is a classic example of the transitional style found in the artists work in the 1940s. Not yet abstract, this work convey’s the artist’s influence by surrealism.  Here the figures that appear to be attempting to break free of their confinement. The elements are similar to those found in one of Utter’s best known print series, Cells from 1944.

Also in the auction are works by Dallas artists including the rare inclusion of a work by Jerry Bywaters and several by Otis Dozier.

The sale takes place November 16 in Dallas.