Born Frederick Elliott Hart on November 3 in Atlanta,
second son of Joanna Elliott and Frederick William Hart.
Their first son, Frederick William, died in infancy.
Joanna Elliott dies suddenly of scarlet fever on April
23, while visiting her family in Conway.
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 fills the role of a second mother.
His father is discharged from the Navy, and marries
Myrtis Mildred Hailey on November 25. He then goes to
Conway to bring his son back to Atlanta, where Hart meets
his new stepmother.
His stepsister, 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
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 Auth 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
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,
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 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.
Explores an idea in clay, the Child,
which in 1975 would find realization in the method of
casting clear acrylic resin that he pioneered.
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.
Wins international competition to design the sculptural
program for the main entrance, west facade, of Washington
National Cathedral. The program comprises three life-size
Saint Peter, and Saint
Paul, and three monumental relief panels, Creation
of Night, Creation of Day, and Ex
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.
Pope John Paul II’s historic Mass on the National Mall in
Sought out and contacted by well-known art dealer and
collector Robert Chase who reads an article in Horizon
features Hart and the Cathedral work. This meeting leads to
a life-long collaboration and friendship.
1980 - Son, Frederick LainHartis born June 21st.
Submits proposal to national competition to design the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall; places first
among the figurative designs and third overall among 1,421
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.
Commissioned by the National Air and Space Museum,
Smithsonian Institution, to create a bronze bust of James
Webb of NASA.
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
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 developmentof the
Purchases farm property in Fauquier County, near Hume,
Virginia. Names the farm Chesley in honor of his late
Appointed to the board of trustees, Brookgreen Gardens,
Murrells Inlet, South Carolina (foremost outdoor collection
of American sculpture).
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,
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
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
Commissioned to create the Herald,
a monumental bronze angel, for the Newington-Cropsey
Foundation and Cultural Studies Center, Hastings-on-Hudson,
of the Millennium at
Easter Sunrise Service, Arlington National Cemetery.
Submits maquette for unrealized statue and fountain honoring
all American Olympic athletes to commemorate the 100th
Anniversary of the Modern Olympic Games, Atlanta, 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.
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
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.
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 theCreation
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
Exhibition at Newington-Cropsey Foundation Cultural
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 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.
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
the Prince of Wales. It is installed in the private garden
Senator Strom Thurmond Portrait Bust is
installed in the Thurmond Room of the United States Capitol
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
The Cross of the Millennium isfeatured
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,
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 programhosted by Ben Wattenberg) feature
“Frederick Hart: Shaping the Culture.”
Dies August 13 at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore.
Gold Line Congressional Tribute is entered into the Congressional
Senator Strom Thurmond.
Posthumously awarded honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts
from American University.
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
Honored by the National Sculpture Society, in its Spring
issue ofSculpture 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
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.
Exhibition, “Frederick Hart: A Celebration of Spirit,”
at the McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina,
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
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
James Danforth Quayle Vice-presidential Bust is
installed in the Capitol Building, Senate Wing.
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
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
Hudson Hills Press publishes the second monograph, Frederick
Hart: Changing Tides.
Ex Nihilo, Fragment No. 4 is
installed at Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, South
Exhibition, “Giving Form to Spirit,” at University of
Butler Books publishes the third monograph, Frederick
Hart: The Complete Works.
Cited in the book The
Trials of Art, edited by Daniel McClean
The premiere of the ballet, Between
Stillness, inspired by the sculpture, Ex Nihilo, is
conceived and staged by the University of Louisville and the
Louisville Ballet, Louisville, Kentucky.
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, a
bronze sculpture is installed and dedicated by Jan C.
Scruggs, Founder, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, at the
Veterans Memorial Plaza, Apalachicola, Florida.