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Williams, Charles Truett

American, 1918-1966
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About this Artist


Charles T. Williams, sculptor, was born in Weatherford on March 24, 1918, the son of T. L. and Lucy (Hurst) Williams. He studied at Abilene Christian College in 1940–41. He married Virginia Beaver in Abilene in 1941; they had one son.

As a member of the Army Corps of Engineers Williams was stationed in Paris from 1944 to 1946. He returned to the United States fired with enthusiasm to produce art. The Williamses lived in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1946–47. Following his wife's death in 1947, Williams moved to Fort Worth to study art at Texas Christian University. He received a B.F.A. degree in 1952 followed by an M.F.A. degree three years later. He married Anita Stuart in 1952; they had a son.

A versatile and prolific sculptor, Williams worked with wood, cast bronze, copper, and stone. He was one of the earliest Texas sculptors to use found objects. His interest in nature was manifested in his use of natural materials and sinuous organic shapes, such as his walnut Torso (1949), in which the curves of the abstracted figure were accentuated by the grain of the wood. Williams favored a simple aesthetic, evident in abstract totems such as Great Leader, a stack of walnut blocks with carved patterns on the surface. The "Heritage of the Great Southwest" series, in which the sculptor bolted unfinished cedar posts together in different configurations, was similarly austere. Williams did not limit his sculptures of "found" pieces to natural materials: his Small Blue Torus (1966) consisted of seven-inch ells (pieces of duct) assembled into a circle which he mounted on a black marble base. His works varied in size, from the 24-inch-high Torus sculpture to a 450-pound limestone sculpture of two figures intertwined (1951). Williams's monumental sculptures and fountains were well-suited for public spaces. He executed a copper and bronze screen 13 feet tall and 33 feet long for the Sheraton Lincoln Hotel in Houston, a garden sculpture of a Christ figure in bronze, copper tubing, and lead for St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, and a fountain sculpture (1955) of hammered sheet copper and red brass pipe for the Ridglea Country Club in Fort Worth. He received many other public and private commissions throughout Texas.

Williams had his first one-man exhibition at the Fort Worth Art Center in 1952, followed by another at the same venue in 1957. He was also the subject of exhibitions at Austin Community College in 1961, the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts in 1962, and the University of Oklahoma Museum in 1963. In the late 1950s and early 1960s there were several exhibitions of Williams's work at galleries in Fort Worth, Dallas, and Houston. He was awarded prizes at the Texas General Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, the Fort Worth Art Center, the Mid-American Annual in Kansas City, the Delgado Museum Annual in New Orleans, and the Exhibition of Western Artists in Denver. Williams's work is included in the collections of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, the Witte Museum in San Antonio, the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, the Denver Art Museum, the University of Oklahoma Museum in Norman, the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, and the Delgado Museum in New Orleans. His work is also represented in private collections in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Palm Springs. Williams was preparing for a one-man show in Houston when he died in Fort Worth on March 30, 1966.

Article taken from the Texas State Historical Association Online Handbook of Texas

Beyond Regionalism: The Fort Worth School (1945–1955): A Texas Sesquicentennial Exhibition (Albany, Texas: Old Jail Art Center, 1986). Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 1, 17, 1966. Patricia D. Hendricks and Becky D. Reese, A Century of Sculpture in Texas, 1889–1989 (Huntington Art Gallery, University of Texas at Austin, 1989). Douglas MacAgey, One I at a Time (Dallas: Pollock Galleries, Southern Methodist University, 1971).

Kendall Curlee


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