Sunday, April 28, 2019

Hands accross the divide

The challenges in Northern Ireland were represented by the Irish sculptor Maurice Harron, through his 'Hands accross the divide'  metal sculpture made in 1991.
Maurice Harron studied sculpture at the Ulster College of Art and Design in Belfast.

Two men, each belonging to opposing groups, standing on top of a wall, still searching to live in peace and harmony. And what seems a huge pit between them.

The monument is located in Derry (LondonDerry), on Carlisle Square. The sculptor Maurice Harron is from there as well. Done in 1991, it was unveiled the following year, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 'Bloody Sunday' during which 13 persons were killed by the British Army during a civil rights demonstration.

Photo Britain Magazine - Stock

French text about the sculpture
Britain Magazine

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Takashi Murakami and his lonesome cowboy

This lonesome cowboy, a geant nude male sculpture of Murakami was certainly a surprise in the Tokyo art gallery where it was displayed, and certainly attracted most of the attention.

Created in 1998, it represents a young man and his sperm in a lasso shape around his body, in a style that we would compare to manga cartoons and pop culture, or also what is now called in Japan as the Otaku culture.

It was made in resin, with oil and acrylic paints, and measures 3 meters high. In addition to Japan, it was also exhibited in London and Los Angeles.

Murakami does not expressively shows gay scenes in his work, but sometimes he creates a homoerotic theme. Like this 'CowBoy' proud to show his sperm or masturbation act. A critic mentioned that it was possibly to show the macho spirit in America, the masculinity, the bond among men.

Takashi Murakami is born in Tokyo in 1962. Wanted to create cartoons. Had a father taxi driver. He succeeded to enter at the Arts University. He founded his own workshop at age 33. Then worked for Louis Vuitton in 2004, creating new colored designs with the famous logo. Had a famous although controversed exhibition in Versailles Palais des Glaces in 2010.

Below are two links for short videos about Murakami. The first one is about the Otaku culture, the next one is at the Brooklyn Museum.of Art, where the 2nd retrospective about the artist took place, after the one in Los Angeles

Murakami and the Otaku Culture
Murakami at the Brooklyn Museum of Art

My-lonesome-cowboy description
Archive Metropolis
Wikipedia Takashi_Murakami

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Mowgli and the Jungle book in sculptures

Mowgli and the Jungle Book characters sculptures are well spread in the world, showing the extent of Rudyard Kipling's values transmission and interest. They can be seen in Australia, Belgium, France, Holland, UK, USA, Korea, Ukraine, Russia, ... They are made of clay, bronze, stone, copper, lead, sand, wood, and even ice.

Rudyard Kipling's books (The Jungle book / Mowgli, Kim, ...) greatly influenced Lord Baden Powell to create the boy scouts movement in 1907, who integrated these stories with Kipling's agreement, in order to build his education themes for the youth of that time, and still today. Such as outdoor living, team play, qualities or virtues of each animal to be acquired, like leadership, courage, strength, wisdom, tenacity, brotherhood, etc.

So here are a few examples. First from Max Le Verrier, famous French sculptor known for his art deco sculptures, who made this Mowgli in 1925.

A few years later, Raymond Delamarre also a French sculptor, who read the Jungle Book as a child and loved this book his whole life, created a large bas-relief for the dining room of Jacques Dembiermont villa, in Brittany, around the Mowgli theme. Delamarre did several sketches, looking at the live animals in the Paris 'Jardin des Plantes'.

This bas-relief impressed many architects, so Delamarre agreed to create a few more for the purpose of large decoration projects in the following years. He also made this sculpture.

Other bas-reliefs (13 actually) are also visible at the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn, New York, made around 1935, by several American sculptors (William Hunt Diederich, Joseph Walter, Frederik G R Roth).

Photo (and next four ones) from Ketrin

Here a few other Mowgli sculptures.

Wood sculpture - Russia
Below are three sculptures or bas-relief from John Lockwood Kipling, the father of Rudyard Kipling, the first one showing Mowgli on a cliff before jumping in water to escape wasps.

Detail of clay bas-relief by John Lockwood Kipling

Other sculptures from Mowgli.

Made in bronze
This one is located in Ukraine, at the Nikolaev zoo, and was sculpted in 1978 by Inna Makushina.

Photo dag com ua
This is a Mowgli sculpture made with ice, during the winter 2009-2010 in front of the designer outlet in Roermand, Holland.

Photo Noud Franssen 
And here is a memorial plaque in lead, modelled by Benno Elkan, located on the Kipling Building in Windsor, UK.


Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Nuer Man and other male sculptures from Malvina Hoffman

A passionate reader of this blog suggested to include Malvina Hoffman in the sculptors mentioned here, with a focus on her Nuer Man, the African warrior standing nude on one leg.

'The Nuer Man'

Indeed, her talent and achievements are impressive : she sculpted more than 100 life-sized mainly male sculptures based on real models, to illustrate the diverse groups of cultures around the world. Our dear reader, based in Chicago, was lucky to meet himself some of these Nuer tribesmen when he spent some time in Western Ethiopia and South Sudan.

As he says, "Hoffmann's sculptures were largely 'hidden away' for years because their realism was considered an 'embarassment' ... even though her sculptures were amazingly accurate. She took meticulous measurements of every part of her subjects: nose, arms, penis, everything. Even the Nuer Man was pulled from the floor of the Art Institute of Chicago for a while; but they created a new space where they now display a number of works by her, including this piece".


Malvina Hoffman (1885-1966), born in New York, was from an artist background (her father was an excellent pianist) and he encouraged her to sculpt. So did the famous sculptor of Mt Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum, seeing a bust that she had sculpted. When her father died, she moved to Italy then Paris as she wanted to continue to study art, and she wanted to do it with Rodin!


And she succeeded (after many attemps to meet him!). She studied with him from 1910 to 1914. Rodin was reportedly impressed by both her persistency, and the quality of two busts she did (the one of her father, and another bust she had made of a young violin soloist named Samuel Grimson, who would later become her husband.

Malvina Hoffman in her studio
"Rodin’s essence of teaching as per her statement is “Do not be afraid of realism”. He later convinced her to return to Manhattan to spend a year dissecting bodies at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The education she received there was invaluable, honing her remarkable skill of rendering anatomical features that was evidenced highly when she embarked on her ambitious project to sculpt the anthropological series."

"Stanley Field, director of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, commissioned Hoffman to create sculptures of people representing members of the diverse groups of cultures around the world that became a permanent exhibition at the museum entitled "Hall of the Races of Mankind".
She started this project in 1930. She was very skilled at expressing the beauty of her subjects during their daily activities.


The museum also published a Map of Mankind, featuring her sculptures in a border surrounding a map of the world that was distributed widely with an informative, large-format booklet that made Hoffman's sculptures very well known."

Photograph of the Nuer Man who posed for Malvina Hoffman

In 2016, fifty recently conserved sculptures from the Mankind collection were on display at the museum in an exhibition called, "Looking at Ourselves: Rethinking the Sculptures of Malvina Hoffman.


Monday, December 31, 2018

Two men in a Paris cemetery - Auguste Maillard

These two naked men, located in a prominent cemetery in Paris, and sculpted in stone, are a mystery. They were created by Auguste Maillard, famous French sculptor who died in 1944, but we could not find any information about it (except that it was given after his death), unlike others sculptures from him, well documented.

We initially discovered the existence of this sculpture, years ago and not knowing where it was, through the French photographer Paul Marguerite. Then, only knowing the town (which has two cemeteries), looking at the other pictures we determined which of the two it was, and went a few days ago, where we could take the pictures of this post. So it is located in the 'New' cemetery of Neuilly, actually on the areas of Puteaux/Nanterre, built around 1884.

Auguste Maillard was born in 1864, he studied sculpture with Alexandre Falguière, at the Paris Fine Arts school. Numerous busts and monuments from him are disseminated in France. In public places, cemeteries. He died accidentally during the 'Libération' or end of the last war, in August 1944, having received a lost bullet in front of his house, in Neuilly.

During the World Exhibition held in Paris in 1900, he received an award for his 'Icarus fall'
marble sculpture, which unfortunately disappeared mysteriously during a transfer for being 'renovated', in 2005.

Auguste Maillard 'Icarus Fall' postcard - Collection Delcampe

Paul Marguerite
Article sur La Chute d'Icare