(Welsh, born January 11, 1941–died August 31, 2009) is best known for his compelling bronze sculptures of hares and other animals, often depicted singing, dancing, or posing in moments of anthropomorphic activity. Born in Prestatyn, North Wales, Flanagan studied at the Central St. Martin’s School of Art in London, later teaching at the St. Martin’s School of Arts and Crafts in the late 1960s. While most of Flanagan’s peers were pursuing sculptures within the reductive confines of Minimalist and Conceptual Art, Flanagan studied theater and installation art, and first sculpted works using organic materials, such as clay, sand, rope, and earth.
He later began working with bronze, which he viewed—with its dramatic manipulations of light and shadow—as an ideal expressive medium. He referenced significant experiences shaping a hare out of bronze as the inspiration for what would become his most iconic form. In addition to elephants, horses, unicorns, and other animals, Flanagan depicted his hares leaping across sculpted environments, sitting on a rock in the pose of The Thinker
by Auguste Rodin
, or in other poses with idiosyncratic, fully human expressions and actions, ranging from boredom and loneliness to contemplation, excitement, and joy. He received many commissions of his works, and public sculptures of his hares can be found in outdoor sites in Washington, D.C., New York, London, Madrid, Dublin, Chicago, and the Japanese coast, among other locations around the world. Flanagan died in 2009, at 68 years old.