Friday, March 17, 2017

To Honor Surfing

This month is a contemporary sculpture, a male surfer, large 18-foot bronze sculpture located in California, at Lighthouse Point, near the Santa Cruz surfing Museum. It was installed almost 25 years ago, in May 1992, with the title 'To Honor Surfing'.
The surfer sculpture was made by Tom Marsh, and the base by Brian Curtis.

Photo JerylG

Photo Kyrsti S
Photo Gormon Jones
The plaque at the base indicates :

"This monument is dedicated to all surfers - past, present, and future. The inspiration came from members of the Santa Cruz Surfing Club, founded in 1936. The fulfillment of this dream was the work of numerous citizens who recognize the significance of surfing within our community. Santa Cruz Museum Association - Surfing Sculpture Committee - 1992"  



Hal Goody wrote a very interesting article about the Santa Cruz Surfing club history back in 1936, the Hawaian first visitors, teaching local teenagers, etc. Don't miss it (link in 'Sources' below).  
He ends his article with this :  'In 1992, based on an inspiration of some of the original club members, a surfing sculpture monument was erected on West Cliff Drive at Pelton Avenue. It is dedicated to all surfers, past, present, and future.'

I discovered this sculpture thanks to the picture below published last month in the blog Les Diagonales du Temps.

Photo Chris Hunkeler

Collage - Photo Chris Hunkeler


Photo Kysrti S


Sources :
Brian Curtis website
Thomas Marsh website
San Francisco Gate article
Santa Cruz history
Santa Cruz, California
A dramatic cliff face south of Santa Cruz leads to the old brick lighthouse (which houses the Surfing Museum). Along the way, overlooking a prime surfing spot, are a couple of monuments to the sport. The "official" surfing monument was commissioned and dedicated in 1992. Titled "To Honor Surfing," the bronze of a male surfer standing in front of his board was created by sculptors Brian W. Curtis and Thomas Marsh.
A nearby plaque notes that the tiny park and statue is "dedicated to all surfers, past present and future." The figure was inspired by members of the Santa Cruz Surfing Club, which dates back to 1936.
A wooden park bench faces the statue and ocean, with this carved into the back rest: "In Memory of All Surfers Who Have Caught Their Last Wave -- Santa Cruz Surfing Club."
That cheery send-off has more context if you continue south to the unofficial Dead Surfers Memorial...
- See more at: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/28728#sthash.NNyUiaU4.dpuf

Friday, February 24, 2017

William Hamo Thornycroft


Sir William Hamo Thornycroft, usually called 'Hamo Thornycroft', is also a British sculptor (see the last post about Sir Ian Rank-Broadley), born in London in 1850, who sculpted a significant amount of beautiful large male sculptures.

  
 


He sculpted many statues visible in London, and was one of the youngest members of the Royal Academy (elected in 1882), maybe because of his strong sculpting family heritage : his father, mother, and grand father were also sculptors.
At the Academy, he was influenced by the painter and sculptor Lord Frederic Leighton, already mentioned in this blog, about Icarus, and also for his 'Sluggard' sculpture.

Painting of Thornycroft by Edward Blake Wirgman 1884

Thornycroft won the gold medal of the Royal Academy in 1876, with his sculpture 'Warrior bearing a Wounded Youth' that you can see here :



Edmund Gosse, a critic, and very, very, good friend of Thornycroft (he wrote him several love letters) invented the term 'New Sculpture' and considered that Thornycroft was a pioneer in this movement. See the article about the Gay Love Letters in the sources at the end of this post.

Among his known sculptures, there is the Teucer (one sculpted in plaster in 1881, then in bronze in 1882).






And also the Mower, a controversial sculpture when it was presented as the subject is a laborer. Done in plaster in 1884, then bronze in 1894. This one is visible in Liverpool, and Philip C., one of our readers from Liverpool, was kind to send me the link (see Sources) for the Liverpool Museum where an interesting text about this sculpture is presented.


 

After that sculpture, his work received a considerable reputation, and he got several commissions. He was knighted in 1917. If you walk in Merlbury road in London, you can see the blue plaque which mentions the location of his studio.






Sources
Liverpool Museum
Curator Interview about a sculpture of Thornycroft and the New Sculpture Movement

Leicester Galleries

Glasgow sculpture - Hornycroft Biography
 The Gay Love Letters of Edmund Gosse to Hamo Thornycroft

Wikipedia

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The beautiful males of Ian Rank-Broadley

Sir Ian Rank-Broadley, born in Surrey (England) in 1952, is one of the few successful living sculptors who predominantly sculpts the male figure, and the male nude. Being monumental groups, portraits, small medals, reliefs or attractive life size bodies, he masters the anatomy & the movement, giving you the real envy to touch them.



As he declares himself in his website : "'The choice of the male figure / nude as a dominant motif was made quite early when I realised that the female nude had, to a large extent, been robbed of its power by the commercial world of advertising, whereas the male nude still retained a power that could excite, grab attention and shock. The reaction of the spectator to the male figure was stronger, whether out of competition, fear or embarrassment. It proved to be a potent image. For me, the sculptor, this fact reinforced the work with a greater resonance and meaning.''
 

Many of Ian Rank-Broadley sculptures have a classical influence, like his Heroic Torso and fragments etc. The towel on the work above gives somewhat a more contemporary look, which I like a lot as well.

Below is his large sculpture in bronze 'Towards Another'  life size.
Towards Another - Bronze

Towards Another - Bronze

And here some of his reliefs (you can read the inspiration of these on the sculptor's website).
Berlin Boy 1
Berlin Boy 2
A private collection holds this Heroic Male Torso. More details about the lizzard in his website!




Other versions.



One of Ian Rank-Broadley major projects is the Armed Forces Memorial, at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, near Lichfield, in Staffordshire. Mythology (with Achilles & Patrocle) and symbolic (sun rays) play a role in these two groups of sculptures 'The Stretchers Bearers' and 'The Gates'. See the full story, more pictures and description in the link at the end of this post under 'Sources'.

The Stretchers - detail

The Sculptor - detail

Photo from les.shutterchance.com
The Gates - detail



I encourage you to visit his website to get a full idea of his talent and discover his other sculptures, like the acrobat, the swimmer, and his numerous portraits and medals (see also his coin with the effigy of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, and the medal 'Prisoner of Conscience').


Sources
Ian Rank-Broadley website 
Armed Forces Memorial 
Les Shutterchance 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The sensual sculpture of Donal Hord


Thanks to art collectors, Richard Dyson (who died in 2013) and his partner, Robert Roberson (1999), the San Diego History Center received eight major sculptures from Donal Hord (1902-1966), famous sculptor of San Diego, California.
Dyson and his partner ran a flower shop in La Mesa and were early collectors of Hord’s work.

Catalog of 1999 show at San Diego History Center
Donal Hord 'Man and the wheel' or 'Wheel of Industry' or 'Man and the machine' 1934
''Donal Hord was considered one of the most preeminent American sculptors by many in the national and local art community during the early to mid-20th century. At the time Hord was the only local artist to become a full Academician of the National Academy of Design and a Fellow of the National Sculpture Society.''
Donal Hord 'Morning'
Donal Hord 'Young bather' 1955

''Hord preferred Direct Carving, a process which involves only the carver, the tools, and the medium and shuns the use of working from a drawing. The carver takes inspiration from the medium’s lines and angles, allowing the material to dictate the form and represents a return to the direct approach used in primitive art. Hord worked mainly with hard materials like jade, onyx, and granite in stone and rosewood, mahogany, and lignum vitae in woods.''

Donal Hord 'Kneeling young man'


 
 
Picture below shows Donal Hord in 1956 working on the model of his sculpture Angel of Peace. The real-life sculpture (shown in the next 2 photos) is located at the American Cemetery at Henri-Chapelle, Belgium. Photo of Donal Hord is from San Diego History Center.




Some other sculptures from Donal Hord still focussed on the male body.

Donal Hord 'Siesta'

Donal Hord 'Man with a mask'
Donal Hord 'Reclining male nude' in plaster

Donal Hord 'Thunder'
Hord also designed some medals figuring males, as seen below.




Sources
http://www.sandiegohistory.org/exhibition/donal-hord_dyson/
http://www.thomaslarson.com/publications/criticism/145-donal-hord.html