The Complete Works, 2007
Essays by Donald Kuspit and Frederick Turner
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“Hart’s restoration of the human figure, in all its wholeness and vulnerability, is . . . an important moment in the aesthetic and social history of art.” Donald Kuspit
“Ex Nihilo is a triumphant recovery, out of the abstraction of the twentieth century, of the poetic powers of sculpture.” Frederick Turner
A richly deserved honor for sculptor Frederick Hart (1943-1999) and a valuable resource for art historians and collectors, this complete catalogue is resplendent with more than 246 color plates, and provides full specifications and documentation for the artist’s 204 sculptural works.
Two scholarly essays demonstrate how Hart’s impassioned, imaginative art and its philosophy at once merge humanist, transcendental, and romantic ideas. In “Tragic Beauty and Human Wholeness,” art historian Donald Kuspit compels the importance of Hart’s sculpture. “Hart’s figures are an antidote to . . . the psychosocial destructiveness and inhumanity of the modern world,” and summon “human values, that is, permanent values that make one human. Hart’s figures resist modern violence—without denying it, indeed by subsuming it—with all the subtle vigor of the humanist tradition they concentrate in their harmony.”
Poet-scholar Frederick Turner, in his essay, deftly explores the ideas that Hart shares with transcendentalists Henry David Thoreau and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Romantic poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He also marvels at the contemporaneity of Hart’s seminal masterpiece Ex Nihilo, created for the tympanum over the west entrance to Washington National Cathedral. “At the very center of the work is an absence, a softly undulating blank. Yet it is also the brightest, least shaded part of the whole sculpture—the mouth of the cave, so to speak, too bright for us to make out its identity . . . . When Hart was conceiving his great work, the major pieces of the Big Bang theory of origin had just fallen into place. He has apparently incorporated it into his masterwork.”
Just as Adam emerges from chaos in Ex Nihilo, Hart emerged from the catalyzing, decade-long act of creating the tympanum with an awakened consciousness of his divine gift of artistic power. For the rest of his life he would be impelled to produce ever more wondrous expressions of spirituality. The mystical sculptures that Hart cast in the contemporary medium of clear acrylic resin, using a technique that he pioneered and patented, at once profoundly symbolize and concretize Hart’s preoccupation. Herself, cast in 1984, and Divine Milieu: Homage to Teilhard de Chardin, cast more than twenty years later, are concerned with transcendence. They succeed through Hart’s unique ability to “sculpt” with numinous light, the source of all being.
A fully illustrated appendix describes the processes he used for casting in various media, and the methods used to translate his clay models into stone. An essay by Lindy Lain Hart about her husband’s creative process, and a memoir by their son Lain further enhance the book. Last, Hart’s biography and journey from obscurity to renown are plotted in a richly illustrated chronology.
FREDERICK HART: The Complete Works received the 2008 IPPY, Independent Publishers Book Awards, Silver Medal in the National Fine Art Category, winning over entries from 49 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, 9 Canadian provinces, and 16 countries around the world.
Changing Tides, 2005
Foreword by Frederick Turner
Essay by Michael Novak
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Frederick Hart’s sculpture—at once traditional in its adherence to the human figure, radical in it sensuality, and innovative in its materials—is the subject of this splendid monograph. In 256 pages and with more than 220 illustrations, it demonstrates how Hart (1943-1999) brought about a resurgence of interest in the human figure and in the idea of beauty.
The sculptor’s working process is documented in stunning photographs that show the Daughters of Odessa as a clay maquette, in progressive clay versions and scales, and in the culminating versions in bronze and clear acrylic resin. New light is shed on Hart’s early, monumental interpretation of the Creation, which graces the west façade of Washington National Cathedral. Previously unpublished correspondence and documents from between 1968 and 1984 illuminate Hart’s sixteen-year journey from obscurity to renown, as he created the most successful body of editioned sculpture of the past century by an American artist.
Michael Novak wrote, “The work of Frederick Hart is changing the world of art,” vindicating the artist’s strong belief that with the new century would come changing tides in the style, form, and direction of the arts. In November 2004 the President of the United States awarded posthumously the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and art patrons by the government, to Frederick Hart, “For his important body of work—including the Washington National Cathedral Creation Sculptures and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial’s Three Soldiers—which heralded a new age for contemporary public art.”
This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the rebirth and development of figural sculpture in America.
Frederick Turner is Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas, Dallas, and former editor of the Kenyon Review, is the author of Beauty: The Value of Values, and April Wind, a collection of poetry; and has contributed to numerous books on the arts, including Frederick Hart, Sculptor (1994).
Michael Novak, distinguished educator and author, is the George Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. He has taught at Harvard, Stanford, Syracuse, and Notre Dame and is the author of more than twenty-five books on the philosophy and theology of culture. His writings have been published in every major Western language. Among numerous other awards, he received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion at Westminster Abbey where he delivered the Templeton Address; the Masaryk Medal, presented by Václav Havel of the Czech Republic; and the Cézanne Medal from the City of Provence.
128 color plates, 12 duotones, and 83 halftones
Introduction by J. Carter Brown
Commentary by Tom Wolfe
Donald Martin Reynolds
James F. Cooper
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“One of the functions of art is to challenge. Frederick Hart’s sculpture is among the most challenging art I know.”
With these introductory words J. Carter Brown, Director Emeritus of America’s National Gallery of Art, defines the importance of Frederick Hart’s work.
This volume chronicles the life’s work of an artist dedicated to challenging the sacred cows of modernism by calling for a reunion of beauty and morality in art and reuniting art with the concerns of humanity. This renewed vision of art, Frederick Hart believes, can be achieved only by reasserting the preeminence of the human figure as the fundamental element in the language of visual art.
Tom Wolfe, author of Bonfire of the Vanities and The Painted Word, in a trenchant commentary analyses the decay of the modernist epoch and the rise of the figure as exemplified in Frederick Hart’s sculpture, which he describes as:
“. . . not merely representational work but the idealization of the human form, the glorification of both heroic individuals and the heroic possibilities of mankind.”
Text and picture portfolios focus on Hart’s major public sculptures: the monumental Creation works at the main entrance to Washington National Cathedral and the larger-than-life-size bronze Three Soldiers at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, both in the nation’s capital. The portfolios show the development of these two important national monuments. Hart’s cathedral work reflects a contemporary theological perspective which envisions Creation as not just a singular act but a state of constant becoming. His Vietnam Veterans Memorial statue fulfills the public’s need for the reflection of the human face in our monuments in order to give human perspective and meaning to our history.
Also included in this book are essays by distinguished poets, scholars, and philosophers who challenge, as Hart does, the fossilized state of contemporary art. Their thinking represents a growing movement across a broad variety of disciplines towards a renaissance in the arts. This book not only questions the presumptions of today’s art, it offers a vision for the future.
The book’s 94 color, 62 black-and-white and 26 duotone photographs beautifully illustrate Hart’s achievements in stone, bronze, and acrylic resin. The Plates section includes magnificent full-color photographs of the artist’s major works, both public and private. A complete Catalogue Raisonné has been researched and compiled, recording Hart’s works from 1968 to current works in progress. A chronology and brief profile of the artist’s life, accompanied by personal photographs, and an Index of Works conclude the volume.
9 3/4 x 13″ – 144 pages – 182 illustrations