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This artwork, The Source (Life Scale) by Frederick Hart, is currently for sale at Robin Rile Fine Art.
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Frederick Hart, The Source (Life Scale)
 
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TITLE:  The Source (Life Scale)
ARTIST:  Frederick Hart (American, 1943–1999)
CATEGORY:  Sculptures
MATERIALS:  Bronze
SIZE:  h: 63.6 x w: 26.8 x d: 25.5 in / h: 161.5 x w: 68.1 x d: 64.8 cm
STYLE:  Contemporary
PRICE*:  Contact Gallery for Price
GALLERY:  Robin Rile Fine Art  +1-813-340-9629  Send Email
DESCRIPTION:  Frederick Hart invoked an entirely different August when designing his masterpiece garden figure “The Source”. His inspiration was Beaux-Arts sculptor Auguste St. Gaudens’ (Irish-American, 1848-1907) “Adams Memorial” which Hart saw in the Rock Creek Cemetery during his work in Washington D.C. Heavily influenced by Japanese motifs, Hart focused his energies on creating a soothing fountain figure away from the hustle and the bustle of the metropolitan city of Washington D.C. St. Gaudens’ sensitive depictions of the Buddhist devotional Kannon (Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of compassion) for the memorial of Marian Hooper Adams (the deceased wife of author/historian Henry Adams) contrasted the human visage with the liquid, flowing robes allowing serenity and peace to overtake one’s spirit. Mrs. Adams, tormented by severe depression took her own life. A distraught Henry sought solace in the contemplative gardens, philosophies and spirituality of Buddhist Japan. Upon completion of the monument, which Gaudins called “The Mystery of the Hereafter and the Peace that Passeth Understanding”, the public insisted on re-titling it simply “Grief”. Frederick Hart was profoundly moved by Gaudens’ image of Guanyin. He responded viscerally to her intended tranquil message as the Goddess of mercy and compassion. Guanyin literally translates to “Observing the Sounds of the World”. Hart’s “Source” borrowed the liquid robes of Gaudens’ “Grief” and analogized them into the source of all things, water itself. While the standing figure of a Bodhisattva is imposing, her symbolic presence is motivated by great compassion and the wish to attain Buddhahood for all sentient beings. Her flowing orb allegorically represents the giving of life and enlightenment.

Hart and Rodin mirror two sides of the same coin. Each responding to their immediate surroundings and respective influences with a clarity and precision befitting their craft. Rodin was a product of the pessimistic zeitgeist who read Baudelaire and Hugo and lamented the coming century which many expected would see the destruction of the workforce through the onset of the new technologies of the industrial age. Hart was a post-war baby who came of age is Washington DC just as other young men his age were being sent overseas to fight a war none understood. Rodin’s lack of success early in his life drove him to surpass all of his forebears in sculpting and carve new ground from which other 20th century sculptors could turn to and learn from. Hart’s unfocused beginnings and crucible at Washington National Cathedral caused him to return to classical ideals which had been forgotten and ignored by generations either unwilling or unable to respect them. Rodin’s works are often heavy, in both a figurative sense and a literal sense, given their thick feet mushrooming from unwieldy bases. Hart’s sculptures are often light and hopeful, reflecting what he saw as a positive future and generous past.

Both changed sculpture forever. One by rejecting historical convention and the other for reminding us of it again. (Text © 2012 Reed V. Horth, for RRFA)

ONLINE CATALOGUE(S):  Robin Rile Fine Art Inventory Catalogue
LITERATURE:  Frederick Hart Sculptor, Brown, J. Carter, Wolfe, T. Hudson Hills Press 1994. Pg. 88-89 [illustration of another cast]
Frederick Hart Changing Tides, by Michael Novak, pg. 156. [illustration of another cast]
 
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