Born Frederick Elliott Hart on November 3 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, second son of Joanna Elliott and Frederick William Hart. Their first son, Frederick William, died in infancy.
Joanna Elliott Hart dies suddenly of scarlet fever on April 23, while visiting her family in Conway, South Carolina.
Remains in Conway for more than two and one-half years. Young Ricky (as he was called) is cared for by his Aunt Essie and maternal grandmother in a large, loving household. aunt Essie Kelly fills the role of a second mother.
His father is discharged from the Navy, and marries Mertis Mildred Hailey on November 25. He then goes to Conway to bring his son back to Atlanta, where Hart meets his new stepmother.
His half-sister, Chesley, is born. With the arrival of his baby sister, he finds himself at the periphery of the family. Nonetheless, he forms a close relationship with her.
The family moves to the Washington, D.C., area and Hart enters a troubled adolescence. An avid reader but an indifferent student, he is obsessed with drawing and soon declares his intention to become an artist.
Fails the ninth grade in Virginia and returns to South Carolina to live with his Aunt Essie. He repeats the ninth grade but again loses interest.
Seeking to prove to Hart that he needs to apply himself, the principal of his high school challenges him to take the ACT college entrance exam. He scores 35/36 points (equivalent to scoring 1560 on the College Boards). The astonished principal is then obliged to follow through with assisting Hart with his college application. He is admitted to the University of South Carolina, Columbia, at the age of sixteen.
Joins 250 black students in a civil rights demonstration. As the lone white student he is jailed, expelled from the University of South Carolina, and forced to leave Columbia by the Ku Klux Klan. He decides not to return to his parent’s home in northern Virginia but instead becomes a part of the art community in Washington.
Chesley is diagnosed with leukemia. His stepmother’s sister, Grace, becomes Chesley’s caregiver because his parents are unable to cope with the illness. Hart tries to stem his family’s disintegration by helping Aunt Grace as much as he can. He later expresses the tragedy in a compelling sculpture, Family, 1969.
Chesley dies at the age of sixteen. Grieving for his sister’s unfulfilled life, he begins to examine his own. He “stumbles into a sculpture class at the Corcoran School of Art and is blown away.”
1966 – 1968
Apprentices with Giorgio Gianetti Architectural Plaster Studio and assists sculptors Felix de Weldon, Carl Mose, Don Turano, and Heinz Warnecke.
1967 – 1971
Realizes that Washington National Cathedral, Washington, DC is one of the only places he can learn classical figurative sculpting. He tries to ingratiate himself to Roger Morigi, master stone carver, by taking the only position available—that of mail clerk. Richard Feller, Clerk of the Works, and Roger Morigi eventually take notice and offer him an apprenticeship. He attains the rank of stone carver. Richard Feller and Roger Morigi become mentors and father figures to the young sculptor.
Washington National Cathedral issues its formal “Charge to the Artist,” to guide the artists who would participate in the west facade design competition.
Opens studio, an unheated cold-water garage on P Street, and begins to work on submission for Cathedral. Accepts private commission work to earn living expenses.
Explores an idea in clay, the Child, which in 1975 would find realization in the method of casting clear acrylic resin that he pioneered.
Wins international competition to design the sculptural program for the main entrance, west facade, of Washington National Cathedral. The program comprises three life-size statues, Adam, Saint Peter, and Saint Paul, and three monumental relief panels, Creation of Night, Creation of Day, and Ex Nihilo (Out of Nothing).
Realizes first work in cast clear acrylic resin, the Child.
Appointed to the Sacred Arts Commission for the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.
Marries Lindy Lain, December 1, in civil ceremony. Marriage blessed at the Roman Catholic Saint Matthew’s Cathedral, June 2, 1980.
Creates Processional Cross for Pope John Paul II’s historic Mass on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
Sought out and contacted by well-known art dealer and collector Robert Chase who reads an article in Horizon Magazine that features Hart and the Cathedral work. This meeting leads to a life-long collaboration and friendship.
Son, Frederick Lain Hart is born June 21st.
Submits proposal to national competition to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, Washington, DC; places first among the figurative designs and third overall among 1,421 entries.
Release of first editioned work in clear acrylic resin, Gerontion.
Commissioned by Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to create a figurative sculpture for Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington DC.
Commissioned by the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, to create a bronze bust of James Webb, NASA Director (1961 – 1968)
Son, Alexander Thaddeus Hart, is born January 7.
Sacred Mysteries: Acts of Light, the first large-scale suite in clear acrylic resin. The work had been sculpted in clay between 1979-1982.
Three Soldiers is installed at the site of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and dedicated by President Ronald Reagan.
Commissioned to create the Age of Light, a series of twelve works in clear acrylic resin. The commission will be completed over seven years.
Appointed by President Reagan to a five-year term on the Commission of Fine Arts, a seven-member committee that advises the United States Government on matters pertaining to the arts, and guides the architectural development of the nation’s capital.
Appointed to the board of trustees, Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina (foremost outdoor collection of American sculpture).
Purchases farm property in Fauquier County, near Hume, Virginia. Names the farm Chesley in honor of his late sister.
With Philip Frohman, architect of Washington National Cathedral from 1921 to 1971, receives Henry Hering Award for the Creation Sculptures from the National Sculpture Society, New York.
Participates in “100 Years of Figurative Sculpture,” an invitational exhibition in Philadelphia in conjunction with the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution.
Receives the Presidential Award for Design Excellence, given once every four years, for Three Soldiers.
Commissioned to create the Creation Sculptures: Themes and Variations, a series of eight sculptures (four clear acrylic resins and four bronzes). This commission will be completed over six years.
Creates and donates a comic bust of Mark Twain for the Design Industries Foundation for AIDS (DIFFA).
Commissioned to create Dreams, Visions, and Visitations, a series of four works in clear acrylic resin. This commission will be completed over five years.
Receives the Arthur Ross Award in Sculpture, created to celebrate excellence in the classical tradition, and recognizing the achievements and contributions of architects, painters, sculptors, artisans, landscape designers, educators, publishers, patrons, and others dedicated to preserving and advancing the classical tradition.
Commissioned to create the Herald, a monumental bronze angel, for the Newington-Cropsey Foundation and Cultural Studies Center, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.
Unveils Cross of the Millennium at Easter Sunrise Service, Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.
Submits maquette for unrealized statue and fountain honoring all American Olympic athletes to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Modern Olympic Games, Atlanta, Georgia 1996.
Commissioned to create the James Earl Carter Presidential Statue in bronze for the Georgia State House grounds, Atlanta.
Commissioned to create the Richard B. Russell, Jr. Memorial Statue, a larger-than-life-size marble sculpture of the late senator, for the rotunda of the Richard B. Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.
The Cross of the Millennium is selected as the “Best of Show” and also “Visitors’ Choice” in “Sacred Arts XIV,”the nation’s largest annual juried exhibition of religious art, at the Billy Graham Center Museum, Wheaton, Illinois. The first work of art to receive both awards simultaneously, it becomes part of the permanent collection of the Billy Graham Center.
Completes and donates, in collaboration with Jay Hall Carpenter, Tribute to Desert Storm, a decorative sculptural railing, to the Fauquier County Veterans Memorial, Warrenton, Virginia.
Receives the George Alexander Memorial Award from the Blinded American Veterans Foundation for service on behalf of all veterans, particularly those with sensory disabilities.
Completes and donates to Operation Smile International the John Connor Medal, a commemorative bronze medal named for the Vietnam veteran, awarded to individuals who have provided exceptional service to children who need reconstructive surgery.
Awarded honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of South Carolina, for “ability to create art that uplifts the human spirit, commitment to the ideal that art must renew its moral authority by rededicating itself to life, skill in creating works that compel attention as they embrace the concerns of mankind, and contributions to the rich cultural heritage of our nation.”
James Earl Carter Presidential Statue installed on the Georgia State House grounds, Atlanta, Georgia.
The Herald is installed on the pediment of the Newington-Cropsey Foundation and Cultural Studies Center.
Publication of Donald Martin Reynolds’s book Masters of American Sculpture: The Figurative Tradition from the American Renaissance to the Millennium. It features the artistic and historic importance of the Creation Sculptures, Three Soldiers, and the Cross of the Millennium.
Commissioned by Saint Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, Andover, Kansas, to create a life-size Cross of the Millennium in clear acrylic resin.
Hudson Hills Press publishes the first monograph, Frederick Hart, Sculptor.
Exhibition at Newington-Cropsey Foundation and Cultural Studies Center.
Commissioned by the Strom Thurmond Statue Committee to create a bust of the senator.
Creates and donates a portrait study for the Ruby Middleton Forsythe Memorial Plaque, honoring an African American educator who devoted her life to teaching in a one-room schoolhouse on Pawleys Island, South Carolina.
Richard B. Russell, Jr. Memorial Statue is installed and dedicated in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
The Cross of the Millennium, life-size, installed in Saint Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.
Commission to create the Illuminata Trilogy, a series of three works in clear acrylic resin. This commission will be completed over four years.
Presents bronze portrait of Lord Mountbatten to the Prince of Wales. It is installed in the private garden at Highgrove, Gloucestershire, England.
Senator Strom Thurmond Portrait Bust is installed in the Thurmond Room of the United States Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.
Presents the Cross of the Millennium, a unique casting of the one-third life-size work, to Pope John Paul II, at a private ceremony in the Vatican. The Pope remarks, “You have created a profound theological statement for our day.”
Admitted by Queen Elizabeth II to the Order of Saint John as Serving Brother.
The Cross of the Millennium is featured in the Pageant of the Masters, Laguna Beach, California, production “Hidden Treasures.”
Receives the first annual Newington-Cropsey Foundation Award for Excellence in the Arts.
PBS documentary Rodin & Hart, Master Sculptors, receives an Emmy Award, Washington.
Presents Daughters of Odessa, a three-quarter life-size bronze sculpture, to the Prince of Wales in recognition of his support of the traditional artistic values of beauty and order.
Three Soldiers is featured in the Pageant of the Masters production “Metropolis: Art of the World’s Great Capitals.”
Receives commission from the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration to create the James Danforth Quayle Vice-Presidential Bust.
Featured speaker for Memorial Day ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Interviewed for Think Tank (a PBS television program hosted by Ben Wattenberg) feature “Frederick Hart: Shaping the Culture.”
Dies August 13 at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland.
Gold Line Congressional Tribute is entered into the Congressional Record by Senator Strom Thurmond.
Posthumously awarded honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts from American University.
Celebration is featured in Pageant of the Masters production “The 20th Century: Ten Decades of Art.”
Life Achievement Award from Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, Old Lyme, Connecticut, is posthumously bestowed “for advancing the art of sculpture in reverence for the beauty and value of creation, for creating images that will tell future generations who we are and how we felt in the late twentieth century, and for challenging the next generation of artists to visualize the mystery and power of truth and beauty.”
Honored by the National Sculpture Society, in its Spring issue of Sculpture Review, with article by Tom Wolfe, “Frederick Hart: Life and Passion.”
Honored by Washington National Cathedral with a memorial tribute and sculpture exhibition, “Transcendence and Renewal.”
Article, “The Artist the Art World Couldn’t See,” by Tom Wolfe in The New York Times Magazine annual feature, “The Lives They Lived.”
Cited for his contribution to the arts by Think Tank, PBS, “Art under the Radar.”
Washington National Cathedral and Chesley, LLC, announce the release of limited editions of the sculptures he created for the Cathedral.
The Source, one-half life-size is installed at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Oakland, California.
Exhibition, “Frederick Hart: A Celebration of Spirit,” at the McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina, Columbia.
A symposium, “Visual Arts in a Global Society,” University of South Carolina, centers on the work of Frederick Hart.
Three Soldiers featured in the Pageant of the Masters production “Heroes and Heroines.”
Cited in the Boy Scouts of America Sculpture Merit Badge pamphlet along with Louise Nevelson and David Smith as “… among those who had their own unique way of sculpting and are admired for their creativity and dedication.”
Ex Nihilo, Working Model, cast marble is donated to Belmont University, Nashville, by a patron of the university for installation in the Maddox Grand Atrium of the Beaman Student Life Center and Curb Event Center.
James Danforth Quayle Vice-Presidential Bust is installed in the Capitol Building, Senate Wing, Washington DC.
Exhibition, “The Creative Spirit, The Sculpture of Frederick Hart,” at the Leu Art Gallery and the Leu Center for the Visual Arts, Belmont University.
A multi-disciplinary symposium, “The Creative Spirit: Belmont Celebrates the Arts,” Belmont University, centers around Hart’s work and philosophy.
Exhibition, “The Creative Spirit, The Sculpture of Frederick Hart,” at Las Vegas Art Museum.
Awarded the 2004 National Medal of Arts by President George W. Bush, “For his important body of work—including the Washington National Cathedral’s Creation Sculptures and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial’s Three Soldiers—which heralded a new age for contemporary public art.”
Songs of Grace is installed in the permanent collection at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. The work is received by Museum Director Mikhail Piotrovsky as a gift from the American people. In the official acceptance speech the director notes that this work is important in that it signifies their desire to establish a twentieth-century collection.
Hudson Hills Press publishes the second monograph, Frederick Hart: Changing Tides.
Ex Nihilo, Fragment No. 4 is installed at Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.
Exhibition, “Giving Form to Spirit,” at University of Louisville, Kentucky.
Butler Books publishes the third monograph, Frederick Hart: The Complete Works.
Cited in the book The Trials of Art, edited by Daniel McClean
Premiere of the ballet, Between Stillness, inspired by Ex Nihilo is conceived and staged by the University of Louisville and the Louisville Ballet with original score by composer Steve Rouse, Louisville.
The monograph, Frederick Hart, The Complete Works, Butler Books, Publisher, is awarded a silver medal in the National Fine Art Category by Independent Publisher Book Awards.
The Midwest Book Review offers an impressive endorsement of the monograph stating, “No academic university, 20th Century art or American sculpture collection can be considered comprehensive without the inclusion of the Butler Books’ superbly published edition of “Frederick Hart: The Complete Works“! — Reviewed by Michael J. Carson. Volume 7, Number 11, November 2007.
Three Soldiers, Detail is dedicated and installed adjacent to the Chapman Botanical Garden and Orman House Historical State Park, Apalachicola, Florida.
Ex Nihilo, Fragment No. 8 is installed at the Lightner Museum Courtyard in Saint Augustine, Florida on Sept 26th.
Publication of a documentary film, “Frederick Hart: A Singular and Major Force,” which explores Hart’s influence on 21st century art and his passionate fight for moral rights of artists. Commentary by Hart; Dana Gioia, former chair, National Endowment for the Arts, current director, The Aspen Institute’s Harman-Eisner Program in the Arts; Tom Wolfe, art critic and author; James Cooper, editor of American Arts Quarterly, director, Newington-Cropsey Cultural Studies Center; Jacob Collins, painter, founder, The Grand Central Academy of Art; Lindy Lain Hart, the artist’s wife; Robert Chase, the artist’s publisher; and others.
Formation of The Frederick Hart Foundation, a non-profit entity with the mission to preserve and perpetuate the ideals set forth by Frederick Hart regarding the ongoing purpose and mission of figurative art, its place within contemporary culture, its need for innovation through new technologies and materials, and its vital role in affirming our society’s ideals of truth, beauty and goodness.
Three Soldiers, Maquette installed in the Veterans Hall of Honor, Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, as part of Freedom Fest, an event that recognizes and honors our nation’s armed forces and their families. The Veterans Hall of Honor is a lasting tribute in pictures, words, sculpture and displays to military veterans and currently serving men and women from the region in acknowledgement of their service to our country.
Ex Nihilo Fragment Nos. 1, 6, 7, and 8, Saint Peter; Saint Paul; Adam and Ex Nihilo Working Model bronze, are installed at Benedictine University, Manhattan, Kansas.
Chase Art Companies and Chesley announce the formation of The Frederick Hart Foundation, a non-profit entity with the mission to preserve and perpetuate the ideals set forth by American master sculptor Frederick Hart regarding the ongoing purpose and mission of figurative art, its place within contemporary culture, its need for innovation through new technologies and materials, and its vital role in affirming truth, beauty, and goodness in the arts.
New Orleans Museum of Art “Portrait of Faith: Pope John Paul II, Life & Art” exhibition references Frederick Hart’s 1979 Processional Cross commissioned for the historic Mass on the Mall, Washington, DC, and the Cross of the Millennium, presented in the Vatican in 1997 to the Pope in his private residence, Vatican City.
Christ Rising is installed at St. George’s Episcopal Church, Nashville, Tennessee.
“Veterans Day Observance at the Wall: 30th Anniversary Commemoration of the Three Servicemen Statue” at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors sculptor Frederick Hart.
Sculpture Review magazine feature “Christ and Creation” includes Hart’s sculptures Ex Nihilo, Christ Rising and the Cross of the Millennium.
Cross of the Millennium, one-third life-size is installed at Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Michigan.
Adam Fragment; The Guardian; Ex Nihilo Fragment No. 4; Ex Nihilo Fragment No. 7; Songs of Grace; Emerging Flame are installed at Fowler College of Business, San Diego State University, California.
Cited in Fine Art Connoisseur magazine “Great Art Worldwide – Remembering an outstanding sculptor Frederick Hart (1943-1999).”
Hart studio contents, including 250 plasters, molds, prototypes, tools, and ephemera are donated to Belmont University by Robert Chase, president of the Frederick Hart Foundation and Lindy Lain Hart.
Adam Fragment; Ex Nihilo Fragment Nos.1 through 8; Christ Rising, bronzes; Ex Nihilo Working Model, cast marble are installed at Belmont University.
Dedication of the Frederick Hart Studio Museum, Belmont University.
Frederick Hart Symposium with keynote speakers Dr. Bulant Atalay, Dr. Paula Gill, Dr. Robert Fisher, and Dr. Frederick Turner, Belmont University.
The Muses: Poetry; The Muses: Music; The Muses: Theater; The Muses: Dance are installed at Belmont University.
The Source, one-half life-size is installed at Belmont University.
Adam is installed in The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio.