Sunday, June 25, 2017

Summer discoveries in France with Christophe Charbonnel

If you are in France this Summer, here are three opportunities, in various regions, to admire Christophe Charbonnel large sculptures usually representing male mythology heroes etc.

In Paris, at the Mairie (Townhall) du 6ème, until July 15.

In Brittany at the Chateau des Pères, near Rennes, at Piré-sur-Seiche, you will see 10 of his monumental sculptures, until September 25. The Chateau des Pères also offers you a magnificent park where you can stroll and admire 44 permanent large sculptures from 13 other artists.

And in the Southwest, by the sea, at the Biarritz Hotel du Palais, until October 30.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jerry Williams - The Balancing Act

In a context where gay rights are challenged in so many countries these days, today is a sculpture that was created in a similar context in a smaller town of the North West of USA, Springfield, in Oregon, during the mid 1990's by Jerry Williams. The sculpture is called 'The Balancing Act'. 

Several anti-gays laws were passed by the City Council, allowing discrimination on the work place etc. (See Sources, under Oregon Citizens Alliance). Below are some quotes from the text he sent me.

''The Oregon Legislature however prohibited such legislation several months later'' said the sculptor, who added ''Simultaneously, the city of Springfield was seeking a public work for the entrance to its City Hall and Public Library.  They did not specify the subject of the public art that would occupy a plaza next to the entrance stairway."

"My sculpture shown below won their art committee selection based on its whimsey of a gymnast doing a one handstand on the back of a Rhinoceros. The gymnast depicted in the statue is a gay man. The rhinoceros emerging out of the basalt is ignorance, short sightedness, and anger.The owl perched on the toe of the  gymnast is wisdom, and spirit. not unlike the owl in the ancient Greek Parthenon sitting on the shoulder of Athena."

'' The city of Springfield loves that sculpture,  honoring it as the vector for flowers after the massacre at Thurston High School in the late 90s. It is a signature icon on Springfield Art Walk, and images of it printed on brochures."

Jerry Williams website
Jerry Williams interview about his sculpture

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Paul Landowski - The Sons of Cain

Paul Landowski, after a strong interest in philosophy and play writing, started his art studies & career. He took portrait drawing classes, became an anatomy and nude expert, going regularly to the School of Medicine to observe body dissections! He also had a passion for boxing.

His biography is very interesting, I suggest you check it in details (see Sources), to learn more about his various interests, his ambitious project 'Le Temple de l'Homme', his writings, his humanistic concerns, his prizes and honors he got already at a young age, etc. You can also see his numerous sculptures done in many countries and continents (China, Brasil, ...). He died at 85, in his house, in March 1961.

We will post some of his sculptures in this blog. Today is the large bronze group called the Sons of Cain, achieved in 1906. Located in Paris, currently visible at the Jardins des Tuileries. He was inspired by a trip to Tunisia done in 1903, during which he saw three young tunisians marching together, like brothers.

On the left is the sheperd, Jabel, who looks toward the horizon, in the middle is the poet, Jubal, playing on his harp made of a bull head crane, and on the right is Tubal Cain, the blacksmith who protects the fire with his hand. According to the sculptor (see his Journal), it represents the various strengths : physical, thinking, and working.

Paul Landowski

Paul Landowski Journal

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Julien-Edouard de Conny - La Charité Fraternelle

The famous work presented today is from the French sculptor Julien-Edouard de Conny, and is entitled 'La Charité Fraternelle' which can be translated as Fraternal Charity.

Conny - La Charité Fraternelle - 1865 - Photo Johan Dreo

This sculptor, born in May 1818, initially planned to embrace a military career, at the St Cyr Army school, but left it after one year for refusing to do 'hazing' to new students, and disobeying to the Army General who was supervising the Army school. Which led him to spend one month in jail before quitting the army.

 Conny - La Charité Fraternelle - 1865 - Photo Frederic Tison

He then started sculpting, based in Paris, with the sculptors Etex and Dantan. And travelled to Italy. His work was noticed 20 years later, with this sculpture 'La Charité Fraternelle', initially done in plaster. Four years later, in 1865, he sculpted it in marble. The French government purchased it, and installed it in the Jardin des Tuileries. But it was moved later to the Chateau de Rambouillet, and installed in the park.

Julien Edouard de Conny died in January 1900.

Julien Edouard de Conny - Photo Dallemagne
Les Lettres blanches - Frédéric Tison
Visit Chateau de Rambouillet - Andrew Hopkins blog

Friday, March 17, 2017

To Honor Surfing

This month's post 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

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.

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


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The beautiful males of Ian Rank-Broadley

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
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').

Ian Rank-Broadley website 
Armed Forces Memorial 
Les Shutterchance