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Article

Margaret Rose Vendryes

(b Bay St Louis, MS, Jan 28, 1909; d Pasadena, CA, March 6, 1989).

African American sculptor and painter. Barthé was raised a devout Roman Catholic Creole. He was also the only African American artist of his generation to consistently portray the black male nude. Although closeted throughout his life, sensual figures such as Stevedore (1937; Hampton, VA, U. Mus.) expose his homosexuality. Barthé’s elementary education ended in 1914. As an adolescent, he skillfully copied magazine illustrations, especially figures. Barthé worked for the wealthy New Orleans Pond family, who summered on the Bay, and in 1917, he moved to New Orleans to become their live-in servant. Barthé had access to the Pond library and art collection, and while in their employment, he began to paint in oil. In 1924, his head of Jesus prompted the Rev. Harry F. Kane to fund the first of four years at the Art Institute of Chicago School, where Barthé studied painting with Charles Schroeder and sculpture with Albin Polasek (...

Article

James M. Dennis

(b Vienna, Dec 6, 1867; d New York, NY, April 10, 1915).

American sculptor of Austrian birth. Bitter is best remembered for his contributions to the late-19th, early 20th-century City Beautiful Movement. He thereby left a lasting imprint on New York City. Examples of his public sculpture grace not only streets and squares from Bowling Green to Morningside Heights but also numerous other urban sites in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Madison and Minneapolis. Born, raised and educated in Vienna, he no sooner completed his formal training at the Kunstgewerbeschule and Kunstakademie than he was conscripted into the army of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Refusing to serve an obligatory second year, he escaped to New York via Berlin in 1888 with little more than his sack of tools. His arrival marked the beginning of a prolific career lasting 25 years.

He was immediately discovered by the leading Beaux-Arts architect, Hunt family §(2), who put him to work producing allegorical figures for major, ongoing commissions. These included two Vanderbilt mansions: ...

Article

(CRSBI)

International organization dedicated to the recording and documentation of all known examples of Romanesque sculpture in Britain and Ireland. The organization was the brainchild of George Zarnecki, scholar of Romanesque art and former Deputy Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art. His aim was to develop a photographic and scholarly archive in which every known example of Romanesque sculpture in Britain and Ireland would be recorded for posterity. In 1988 Zarencki and Neil Stratford (Department of Medieval and Later Antiquities, British Museum) submitted a proposal for funding and support to the British Academy which was successful and the project has been under the remit of that organization since.

Under the guidance of scholars, a team of volunteers track down examples of Romanesque sculpture and measure, describe, and photograph the works before they are eventually made available on the internet with a full bibliography. The project has been directed by Peter Lasko...

Article

Jenifer P. Borum

(b Emelle, AL, Sept 10, 1928; d McCalla, AL, Jan 25, 2016).

African American painter and sculptor. Dial was born into poverty and left school at age nine to work various jobs, including fieldwork. At age ten, his mother gave up Thornton and his half-brother Arthur to be raised by their great-grandmother. Upon her death they were taken in by their aunt for two years, and then given to their great-aunt, Sarah Dial Lockett, in Bessemer, AL.

Throughout most of his life, Dial worked as a farmer, a gardener, a bricklayer, and a construction worker. He worked for the Bessemer Water Works for 13 years and the Pullman Standard for nearly 30 years. Dial’s labor gave him a great many skills that he would later apply to making artwork. He was handy with found objects and materials, often making cemetery decorations, as well as for his yard—both of which should be considered in the context of vernacular signifying practices within the African diaspora. Unfortunately, he buried or destroyed much of his early mixed-media yard work, as it often carried messages of social protest and could have been a source of trouble for him and his family. The practice of destroying his work changed when he met his future patron, the Atlanta collector Bill Arnett, in ...

Article

Edward Hanfling

(b Hastings, March 21, 1930; d New Plymouth, Dec 8, 2011).

New Zealand sculptor, painter, printmaker, and installation artist. His art primarily involves assemblage, often with an eye to colour relationships; it also incorporates diverse sources including American modernism, African, and Asian art. Driver had little formal training and worked as a dental technician before he began sculpting with wood, clay, and dental plaster during the 1950s. Between 1960 and 1964 he produced assemblages and collages reminiscent of Robert Rauschenberg, though Driver was not aware of the American’s work then (e.g. Large Brass). In the United States from March to August 1965, he developed an interest in Post-painterly Abstraction as well as in Jasper Johns’s works. References to New York are manifest in his mixed-media wall relief La Guardia 2 (1966; Auckland, A.G.). The Painted Reliefs (1970–74) with their horizontal panels and strips of varying width and depth, mostly painted but sometimes aluminium, indicate the impact of American abstraction, notably that of Kenneth Noland. ...

Article

Bridget Cooks

(b Nashville, TN, c. 1874; d Nashville, TN, 1951).

African American sculptor. Edmondson is known for his blocky, abstracted images of animals and angels. Edmondson was born around 1874 in Davidson County near Nashville, TN, where he lived and worked his entire life. While working for the St Louis Railroad in 1907, Edmondson became disabled and took a job as a janitor at Woman’s Hospital. In 1933, he was inspired by God to carve limestone tombstones. He displayed many of his works in his yard where they were seen by Nashville-based poet and Vanderbilt University professor Sidney Hirsch in 1936. This encounter sparked Edmondson’s eventual “discovery” by the New York art world. In 1936 and 1937, fashion photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe took photographs of Edmondson and his sculptures and presented them to Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) director Alfred H(amilton) Barr. Edmondson became the first African American artist to have a solo exhibition at MOMA, titled Exhibition of Sculpture by William Edmondson...

Article

Keith Gibson

(b Richmond, VA, Oct 28, 1844; d Rome, Italy, March 21, 1917).

American sculptor, active in Italy. Ezekiel earned international fame during the third quarter of the 19th century for his allegorical monuments and portraiture. Ezekiel was the first Jewish American to create sculptural monuments for the Jewish community and was also noted for his Civil War memorials to Southern heroes. His career was spent in Rome living and working as an expatriate.

Born and raised in Richmond, VA, Ezekiel entered the Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, in 1862. His war-time cadetship and especially his participation, along with the rest of the cadet corps in the Battle of New Market greatly influenced him and provided the subjects for several of his later works. Following the Civil War Ezekiel began his sculpture study under the direction of Thomas Dow Jones (1811–81) in Cincinnati, OH, a city with a thriving arts community. His first serious work, Industry (1868; Los Angeles, CA, Skirball Cult. Cent. & Mus.), depicts a young girl dutifully absorbed in handiwork. It was during this year in Cincinnati that Ezekiel was inspired to study in Germany by news of the design for the Tyler Davidson Fountain by the German sculptor August von Kreling (...

Article

Roger S. Wieck

(Kirtland)

(b St Louis, MO, June 28, 1901; d Gloucester, MA, Dec 30, 1998).

American sculptor. Hancock knew from an early age that he wanted to be a sculptor. He trained under Charles Grafly at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia from 1921 till 1925. Winning the Prix de Rome, Hancock then worked and studied at the American Academy in Rome for three years. Shortly after his return to the States in the spring of 1929, Grafly died and Hancock succeeded him as instructor in sculpture at the Pennsylvania Academy, where he taught until 1967. Beginning in 1930, Hancock maintained a studio on Cape Ann, the Massachusetts artists’ colony. In his four years in the army during World War II, he helped protect monuments and reclaim stolen art.

Hancock’s conservative style lent itself to public works, and he is best known for monumental commissions. The most important of these is the Pennsylvania Railroad War Memorial in Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station (commissioned in ...

Article

Julia Robinson

(b Valrico, FL, 1930).

American performance artist and sculptor. Hay started out in the performance scene at Judson Memorial Church in downtown New York City in the early 1960s. He arrived in New York from Florida in 1959, after studying at the Florida State University (1953–8). His wife, the dancer Deborah Hay, was a key figure in the Judson Dance Theater, launched in the summer of 1962, and Alex Hay performed in many of its productions. In the early 1960s he assisted Robert Rauschenberg on set designs for Merce Cunningham, and danced with him with roller-skates and parachutes in Rauschenberg’s now famous performance piece Pelican (1963). After these collaborations, Hay was invited to participate in 9 Evenings: Theater & Engineering at New York’s 69th Regiment Armory (fall 1966). This initiative, conceived by Rauschenberg with critical contributions from the engineer Billy Klüver, was an idealistic effort to pair artists with engineers, to merge art and new technologies. That project evolved into ...

Article

G. Lola Worthington

(b Buffalo, NY, 1950).

Tuscarora artist, writer, educator, and museum director. Hill studied at the Art Institute of Chicago (1968–70), and was awarded a Master of Arts degree from SUNY, Buffalo, NY (1980).

Intrigued with Seneca General Ely Parker (General Grant’s Military Secretary), Hill investigated Parker’s life, which took him to Washington, DC, for two years. Hill began to identify with Parker’s experience and realized he would devote himself to enlightening others about Native American arts, knowledge, education, and culture.

Hill was skilled in painting, photography, carving, beading, and basket weaving, and many of these works are located at the Canadian Museum of Civilizations, Quebec; the Woodland Indian Cultural Center, Brantford, Ontario; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK; the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Washington, DC; and the Seneca Iroquois National Museum, Salamanca, NY. He taught at McMaster University, Mohawk College, Six Nations Polytechnic, and SUNY at Buffalo. Hill developed a culturally based Seneca Language curriculum and training models for teaching....

Article

Margaret Moore Booker

(b Madison, WI, Sept 25, 1847; d Washington, DC, Nov 20, 1914).

American sculptor. Born Vinnie Ream, Hoxie was a pioneer in a field long dominated by male artists and the first woman sculptor to gain a federal commission. Her strikingly good looks and controversial lifestyle sometimes led male contemporaries to dismiss her as the “pretty chiseler of marble,” but her considerable talent and skill eventually earned her praise and commissions.

Hoxie attended the Academy (part of Christian College), in Columbia, MO, where she began her artistic studies. By 1861 she was living with her family in Washington, DC, and one year later she was working for the postal service. At the age of 16 she became a student–assistant for sculptor Clark Mills (1810–83), and shortly thereafter made relief medallions and portrait busts of congressmen and other public figures. She was still in her teens when she modeled a bust of Abraham Lincoln (1865; Ithaca, NY, Cornell U. Lib.) from life—an early success that brought her national attention....

Article

G. Lola Worthington

[Gwe-la-yo-gwe-la-gya-lis]

(b Alert Bay, BC, Canada, 1950).

Kwakwaka’wakw woodcarver. Hunt’s maternal grandfather, Mungo Martin (Kwa-giulth; 1879–1962), was one of the last living carvers on northern Vancouver Island, founder of the Thunderbird Park program in Victoria and one of the first to formulate Kwakwaka’wakw sculptural and painting styles. His paternal father, George Hunt, was an ethnologist, while his brothers, Tony and Stanley, also worked as woodcarvers.

Raised in Victoria British Columbia, and the first to finish high school, his encouraging teacher, who respected his culture, let him carve. Under his father, he became an apprentice in the Carving Program at Thunderbird Park, next to the British Columbia Provincial Museum.

At 21, Hunt assumed the title of Chief Carver at Thunderbird Park, a post held for 12 years. Resigning in 1986, Hunt began his independent artistic career. He is the first Native artist inducted into the Order of British Columbia, 1991, and in 1994 became a member of the Order of Canada. The University of Victoria awarded him an honorary doctorate in ...

Article

Margaret Moore Booker

(Sarah Adeline)

(b Plymouth, IL, Sept 26, 1859; d Washington, DC, Nov 10, 1955).

American sculptor. An ardent woman’s rights advocate, Johnson dedicated her life’s work to promoting and immortalizing woman’s suffrage through her sculpture. The daughter of Illinois farmers, Johnson studied at the St Louis School of Design (1876–9), and at age 18 won prizes for woodcarvings at the state exposition. Encouraged by her success, in 1879 she changed her name to Adelaide and journeyed to Chicago, where she studied and worked as a woodcarver and interior decorator.

Like most women artists of the era, Johnson longed to study abroad. Damages awarded to her after an accident brought her enough money to travel. In 1883 she studied painting in Dresden and in early 1884 she arrived in Rome, where she spent 11 years under the tutelage of Giulio Monteverde and Francesco Fabi-Altini (1830–1906). During those years she made frequent trips to America to continue her career there. Over the next 25 years she had studios at various times in Carrara (Italy), London, New York, Chicago and Washington, DC....

Article

Deborah A. Middleton

(Dickey)

(b Jackson, FL, 1925; d East Hampton, NY, March 4, 2015).

American sculptor. King’s figurative human representations are recognized for their often humorous character models, which blend smooth and rough surfaces to form a unique signature style. King’s sculptures are identified as Pop art and abstraction, and are represented by a diverse range of scales from the miniature to the monumental and executed with a versatile range of media, from clay to ceramics, wood, and welded or bent metals. His early influences were Isamu Noguchi and Elie Nadelman.

King attended the University of Florida between 1942–4, and moved to New York in 1945 to study at Cooper Union where he graduated in 1948 and continued studies in art at the Brooklyn Museum Art School in New York. King traveled to Europe on a Fulbright Grant to study in Rome Italy (1949–50) and in London at the Central School (1952). King’s first solo exhibition of sculpture was in ...

Article

Tom Williams

(b Long Beach, CA, Jan 1, 1941).

American sculptor and installation artist. He studied architecture and mathematics at California State University and art at the Los Angeles College of Art and Design in 1963 before going on to receive a BFA in 1964 and an MFA in 1967 from the Otis Art Institute of Los Angeles County. He is often regarded as a key contributor to the development of Post-minimalism and Process art during late 1960s, and he is sometimes credited with more or less inventing the so-called ‘scatter piece’ as a form in contemporary art.

Le Va became widely celebrated for a series of scatter pieces or ‘distributions’, to use his preferred term, that he began in 1966 while still a graduate student at the Otis Art Institute. In these pieces, he deposited a heterogeneous array of materials into loosely configured piles on the gallery floor. Many of these early works featured cut pieces of canvas or felt that he mixed in with other materials such as scraps of wood, puzzle pieces, lengths of string and ball bearings. These pieces refused both the monumentality and the singularity of modernist sculpture, and although these works were carefully planned, they nevertheless introduced an element of chance into the completed object because they could never be realized in exactly the same way twice. Through this element of chance, and through their use of both multiplicity and horizontality, these pieces seemed to extend the implications of Jackson Pollock’s paintings into sculptural practice. In this sense, these works marked a shift in emphasis from the discrete sculptural product to the process and conditions of display. In 1969–70 pieces such as ...

Article

Stephen Jones and Lin Barton

(b Scarborough, Dec 3, 1830; d London, Jan 25, 1896).

English painter and sculptor. He spent much of his youth travelling on the Continent with his family. This cosmopolitan background was of great importance to his development as an artist. After his father, a doctor, settled in Frankfurt am Main in 1846, Leighton enrolled at the Städelsches Kunstinstitut, where he studied under the Nazarene artist Edward von Steinle between 1850 and 1852. The style and subject-matter of such early works as the Death of Brunelleschi (1852; London, Leighton House A.G. & Mus.) show the influence of Nazarene art and suggest the growing importance of Italy as a source of inspiration. Leighton travelled to Rome in 1852 and became friendly with Giovanni Costa and George Heming Mason, who later emerged as leading figures in the group of English and Italian artists known as the Etruscans. His first Royal Academy success, Cimabue’s Celebrated Madonna Is Carried in Procession through the Streets of Florence...

Article

Margaret Samu

(b Winchester, OH, Nov 21, 1874; d Osterville, MA, March 10, 1954).

American sculptor. Longman was the first American woman of her generation to establish a career in large-scale public sculpture and the first woman sculptor to become a full member of the National Academy of Design (1919). Longman studied at the Art Institute of Chicago as a teenager, then began modeling clay in 1896 while at Olivet College in Michigan. In 1898 she enrolled full-time at the Art Institute of Chicago. Training with Lorado Taft, she completed the four-year program in two years. After moving to New York City she became a studio assistant to Daniel Chester French in 1901. At his encouragement she opened her own studio, where she worked in her free time. After she left French’s studio in 1906, they remained close friends and colleagues.

Longman’s first public commission was Victory (gilded staff, 1903), created for the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair. This 7.6-m tall gilded figure of a lithe male athlete crowned the fair’s central building, while the plaster model for the piece won a silver medal for sculpture (bronze casts ...

Article

Cynthia H. Sanford

(b Münster, Westphalia, Germany, 1833; d Austin, TX, 1907).

German-born American sculptor. Trained in her native Germany where she earned her early fame, Ney also worked in Italy before immigrating to the USA in 1870 and eventually settling in Texas. In Germany she was noted for her Neo-classical bust portraits of famous people and became personal sculptor to King Ludwig II of Bavaria. When she returned to sculpture later in Texas, she created likenesses of prominent citizens, historic heroes and an ideal life-size figure of Lady Macbeth.

The daughter of Adam Joachim Ney, a stone carver who made small religious statues and gravestones, she helped her father in his studio. Ney developed a passion for sculpture and was determined to study in Berlin with the leading sculptor Christian Daniel Rauch. Her parents eventually allowed her to study in Munich, where Ney entered the private school of the history and portrait painter Johann Baptiste Berdellé (1813–76). In November 1852...

Article

Annie Dell’Aria

(b Santurce, Puerto Rico, Jun 10, 1955).

American sculptor and installation artist. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Osorio came to New York in 1975 and earned a BSc in sociology from Lehman College, Bronx, in 1978. He then earned an MA in art education from Teachers College, Columbia University, in 1985. Osorio spent much of his early years in New York as a social worker in Puerto Rican neighborhoods in the South Bronx, an experience that would inform both his aesthetic style and his artistic involvement with Latin American communities.

Osorio worked primarily in Assemblage sculpture, which led to more elaborate and ornate multimedia installations. From the mid-1980s, his practice was characterized by an overabundance of kitschy objects and a keen eye for the intricacies of Nuyorican (New York–Puerto Rican) material culture and family life. In 1985, a turning point in his stylistic development, he created La Bicicleta (The Bicycle) (New York, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts), which references the vehicular decoration of street peddlers in Puerto Rico in the 1950s and 1960s. This hanging bicycle covered with flowers, ribbons, plastic trees, Kewpie dolls, and many other cheap adornments was rendered useless as a mode of transportation and made entirely sculptural. Osorio’s later installations maintained this attention to vernacular decoration, but were more narrative in their investigation of urban Latino communities. For the ...

Article

Michelle Yun

(b Wichita, KS, 1952).

American sculptor. Otterness moved to New York in 1970 to study at the Art Students League. He participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program in 1973 and in 1977 he joined the New York based Collaborative Projects (Colab) as a founding member. Otterness is best known for his playful, figurative cast bronze sculptures and his belief that art gains value through public engagement. Between 1978–82 he created a series of cast Hydrocal (fiberglass and concrete) figures inspired by the statuettes found in Latin American botánicas (stores selling folk medicine, perfumes and religious statuettes, rosaries and candles). These diminutive spoofs on historic monuments were set on marble bases and inexpensively sold as “hand-produced collector’s items.” Continuing on this populist track, in 1982 he built a modular plaster frieze in the form of cornice molding that was sold by the foot. These early works serve as important precursors for the artist’s longstanding commitment to public art. In ...