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Published by Modern Art Foundry / VOLUME 26, NUMBER 1, 2011
Serving Artists and Communities Since 1932


‹IN MEMORIAM›

Louise Bourgeois
Sculptor of Powerful Works (1911 - 2010)

In May 2010, Louise Bourgeois passed away at the age of 98. She was a customer at
Modern Art Foundry for almost thirty years. We believe we had a unique experience
working with and casting for Louise Bourgeois and we have many memories.
We offer her words below as inspiration.

 

Art is a guarantee of sanity. That is the most important thing I have said.

I am not what I am, I am what I do with my hands.

Sometimes it is necessary to make a confrontation - and I like that.

Everywhere in the modern world there is neglect, the need to be recognized, which is not satisfied.

Art is a way of recognizing oneself, which is why it will always be modern.

It is a great privilege to be able to work with, and I suppose work off, my feelings through sculpture.

Louise Bourgeois


Artist/Foundry Spotlight - Seena Donneson

Almost fifty years ago, in April 1964, Seena Donneson hired Modern Art Foundry to cast her sculpture. Seena is one of a few sculptors who have worked with all three generations of Modern Art Foundry's owners. On that first visit, she met John Spring, continued on with Bob Spring, and now works with Jeffrey Spring. On April 4, 2011 Seena invited Bob and Jeffrey to be part of her opening reception at the National Arts Club in New York City. Jeffrey moderated a discussion with Seena, Bob and the reception attendees. Jeffrey began with a brief history of the relationship between Seena and Modern Art Foundry followed by a question to Seena: "Would you please explain the title, Fragments Lost In Time"?

She spoke about her paper making process and how it always involves both the decay and rebirth of the materials at hand. She believes that our fast changing high tech society often neglects to recognize the layers of our past and how connected we remain to it. A number of attendees were fascinated that the paper sculptures could be cast. Jeffrey explained how these works are direct cast and asked Bob to continue. Since 1955, Bob has been working in the fine art casting business and he went on to speak about the relationship that hopefully develops between an artist and foundry. That the foundry must work hard to provide the artist not only a service but also an experience within their creative process. Bob also shared a few stories about working with Jacques Lipchitz and the Estate of Gaston Lachaise. He reflected upon how working with artists has provided him with wonderful unique experiences. The presentation lasted just over thirty minutes and the 30 plus attendees rewarded us with a hearty applause at the end.


"EVOLUTE", 25 x 23 x 8 in.
Additional work can be seen at: www.seenadonneson.com.
Approaching 80 Years
As Modern Art Foundry nears eighty years in the fine art casting business, we have been working with Bob Spring, at Modern Art Foundry full-time since 1955, to collect his stories and memories of his life working for artists. In this Newsletter we would like to share a conversation between Bob and Patricia Bradshaw regarding the Alice in Wonderland monument by José De Creeft located on the east side of Central Park, north of the Conservatory Water at 72nd Street.

Artist José De Creeft was born in Guadalajara, Spain in 1884. He moved to the United States in 1929 and became a citizen in 1940. He had a long and successful career as both sculptor and teacher. Mr. De Creeft died in New York in 1982.

The following is a summary of a conversation recorded in February 2011.

Today, let us talk about the Alice in Wonderland sculpture located in Central Park.
De Creeft's idea was that this monument needed to be very child friendly. The layout of the maquette had the statues and the composition so that children would be able to climb on the piece easily. Of course, it is dominated by Alice sitting on the mushroom. Alice is welcoming all to come up, sit with her, and look at the cat up in the little tree behind her with its silly grin. The mushrooms serve to support your climb up and allow you access to the sculpture.

Did the maquette come to the foundry full size?
We received the full size enlargement, which was created by the sculptors of that era who worked as professional enlargers. De Creeft supervised the enlargement and it was delivered to the foundry.

Did you do any of the finishing or patina on it?
Yes. I got out of the service in 1955, so by the time that job came into the foundry I was already working in the finishing room. I did not do all of it, but I did some. I do remember finishing the big mushroom. It was cast in sections, and some of the welding was done on the inside. There was not enough room inside of the bronze for me use the mask with the dark glasses to protect my eyes from being burned, so I held the glass without the hood and I tack welded it. Little did I know, that the ultra-violet light was bouncing off the top of the bronze and into my eyes. I went home that night and in the middle of the night, it felt like I had sand in my eyes. It hurt so much the next day that I went to have them checked by my doctor. What happened was, my retinas were burned and I suffered for many years after that with night driving because it would give me headaches.

Was it delivered in one piece?
Yes. We have a number of foundry pictures of the work in our yard. One with the whole foundry staff that we have published a few times. When it was finished Mr. Delacorte, Mrs. De Creeft, and a number of city officials visited the foundry for final acceptance. My father was the foundry president and presented the work to those visiting, my brother John was there too. It was craned on to a flat bed truck and traveled through the streets of Queens. I think it went over the Triboro Bridge, down Second Avenue, then over to Central Park. Another crane was waiting there and they picked the whole thing up and sat it in place. We had prepared templates for the piece indicating where the pins would come out, holes were drilled into the concrete base, and it was dry fit to make sure it was ok. It was installed and we walked away. Later on, they had a ceremony. It has been there since and is a favorite spot for locals and tourists, and is a city sensation as far as I am concerned.
Do you remember any concerns about the public being able to climb on the work?
When the piece was completed, my job was to rub my hands all over the surface of the statue to check if there was anything sharp that somebody could scratch or cut themselves on. If anything was sharp I had to matte it down. I actually touched every inch of the statue to make sure it was safe.

Any final thoughts?
It is obviously an historic and important part of New York City's landscape. I believe Mr. De Creeft created a very successful public work and Modern Art Foundry has always been proud of having cast this work for him and the city.
Conservation & Maintenance Services

As summer 2011 approaches, Modern Art Foundry's Conservation & Maintenance staff will again be on the road to clean and protect public and private outdoor sculpture. Our on-going contracts continue to grow and we thank those who hire us each year to provide the necessary treatment. In a number of cases, we have been on the job for ten or more years caring for their sculpture. Our basic approach of cleaning and protective waxing allows for graceful aging and each sculpture continues to look good year after year. If you are interested in our conservation and maintenance services, contact us at info@modernartfoundry.com. Please include an image of the works current condition and this will help us begin an evaluation.
We are pleased to welcome The Jar Project to the Spring Gallery & Sculpture Garden. The Project, established by Maine based artist Alex Sax and recently completed a successful showing at the Whitney Art Works in Portland, Maine, will be on exhibit with us in Belgrade Lakes throughout summer 2011.

We first met Alex a few years ago when she hired us to cast thirty plus wax and paper turtles for a school commission in Brooklyn, New York. Since then, we have cast rabbits and spiders for Alex and featured her at both AES Gallery in LIC, NY and Spring Gallery last summer.

The Jar Project consists of 60 glass jars, in varying shapes and sizes. Each jar is re-imagined by a different Maine connected artist. The wide range of artists was each challenged to fit their object into the confines of the jar for preservation. In most cases, the object itself would appear to represent something simple but inevitably invites all to imagine details beyond the enclosure.

The Jar Project joins our on-going summer exhibition featuring sculptures by Kristin H. Eyfells, Seena Donneson, Anatoly S. Mikhailov, Dick Shanley, Judith Caden, Jordan Steckel, MAF Design Works, and others. We invite you to visit Spring Gallery & Sculpture Garden to see this season's selection and The Jar Project. You can find additional information at www.jarproject.net.
 
Opening Memorial Day Weekend - Saturday, May 28th
Memorial Day - Labor Day, Hours: Thursday Sunday, 11 AM to 5 PM (or by appointment)
Weekends thru Columbus Day, October 9th

Spring Gallery & Sculpture Garden
81 Main Street, Route 27, Belgrade Lakes, Maine, 207-495-3113
www.springgallerymaine.com
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Modern Art Foundry
18-70 41st Street, Astoria, NY 11105, 718-728-2030
info@modernartfoundry.com / www.modernartfoundry.com

 

 


Published by Modern Art Foundry / VOLUME 26, NUMBER 1, 2011
Serving Artists and Communities Since 1932


The Artist's Foundry © 2011 Modern Art Foundry
Contents may not be reproduced in any manner or form without written permission. Text and Image Credits on File
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