Frederick Hart, Sculptor

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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 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 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 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 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.

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.

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 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.

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 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. 

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 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. 

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 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 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 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 Mountbatten to the Prince of Wales.  It is installed in the private garden at Highgrove.

Senator Strom Thurmond Portrait Bust is installed in the Thurmond Room of the United States Capitol Building.

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 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, 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 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 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 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 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.

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.

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

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.





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