One of the last members of the revered Fort Worth Circle of artists died Sunday in Austin.
Kelly Fearing, 92, died of congestive heart failure.
Fearing was part of a somewhat eccentric art circle that introduced modernism, surrealism, and other innovative styles to a local community still clinging to realism and bluebonnet paintings in the 1940s and 1950s.
He taught at Texas Wesleyan College in the 1940s before moving south and beginning his long tenure as an art professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
Of all the paintings by Fort Worth Circle artists, Fearing’s “The Lifters” (1944) still holds the record for the highest price paid for a painting. The painting reportedly fetched $40,000 a few years back.
Fearing was one of early Texas art’s most influential painters, with a unique style that sometimes confounded local art collectors. He was a cool guy to boot. I met him in 2008 at a crowded soiree at the Amon Carter Museum and he was friendly and gracious with his time, granting an interview and posing for photos.