The Art of the Scene: Charles Truett Williams

Contributors: Katie Robinson Edwards, Jonathan Frembling, and S. Janelle Montgomery

An avant-garde existentialist from rural Texas, Charles Truett Williams was a charismatic mix of beatnik and disciplined artist. He brought Atomic Age modern and hip coolness back with him from Europe after World War II to a booming postwar Fort Worth. Rejuvenating the city’s art scene with vital new artistic forms, he became the heart of a midcentury studio salon where cocktails mixed simultaneously with art making and philosophy. For eighteen years he was the ringmaster of a milieu that was the prime creative mixer and training ground for many of the best-known artists of twentieth-century Texas. The legacy he created in less than two decades resonates long after his sudden death at age forty-eight.

This book is an intensive study of Williams’s art and scene making, utilizing interviews and the extensive Charles Truett Williams Papers held at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and the Smithsonian. Eminent scholars, in a series of three essays and an accompanying biographical timeline, explore the remarkably under-studied life and world of this midcentury Texas genius.