Robert Graham (sculptor)

Robert Graham (sculptor)

Infobox Artist
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name = Robert Graham

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caption = Detail of "Gates to The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu", cast bronze, 1988
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birthdate = August 19, 1938
location = Mexico City
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field = Sculpture
training = San Jose State College, San Francisco Art Institute
movement =
works = "Joe Louis Memorial," Detroit, Michigan, 1986; "Olympic Gateway" - Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California, 1984
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Robert Graham (born August 19, 1938, in Mexico City) is a sculptor based in the state of California in the United States of America. His monumental bronzes commemorate the human figure and are featured in public places across America. In addition to his civic art, Graham is an active member of the art community.

Graham received his formal training at San Jose State College and the San Francisco Art Institute in California, finishing in 1964. Within ten years he had his first one-man show at a gallery, and in 1972 had his first one-man show in a museum, the Dallas Museum of Art. Since then he has had dozens of one-man shows, including several at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Graham's first major monumental commission was the ceremonial gateway for the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, for the occasion of the 1984 Olympics.He also designed the commemorative silver dollar for the event. The gateway featured two bronze torsos, male and female, modelled on contestants in the games. The gateway was a major design element of an Olympiad noted for its lack of new construction. To the surprise of many, the nudity of the torsos became an issue in the media.

Graham has used a range of materials and scales in his work. In the 1970s Graham created very small wax sculptures (circa 4" - 10cm), depicting sexual congress. His 1986 monument to the boxer Joe Louis is a 24' bronze fist and forearm. He has created hundreds of nude figures and groupings in intermediate scales.

He is married to actress Anjelica Huston and they reside in an unusual dwelling in Venice, California. Huston refused to move to the Bohemian area unless Graham built them a fortress to live in. The result was a giant, windowless structure behind an opaque 40-foot fence.

Graham made a cameo appearance in Huston's movie, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, as the Venezuelan general near the beginning of the film standing on the deck of the ship. Wes Anderson mentions in the movie's commentary that Graham has some aspects in common with Steve Zissou.

Public sculptures

*2002 - "The Great Bronze Doors" and "Statue of Mary" - Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles, California
*2001 - "Prologue" - addition to the FDR Memorial, Washington D.C.
*1999 - "Charlie "Bird" Parker Memorial", Kansas City, Missouri
*1997 - "Duke Ellington Monument" - Central Park, New York City
*1997 - "Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial", Washington D.C.
*1994 - "Plumed Serpent", Plaza de César Chávez, San Jose, California
*1988 - Gates of The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu
*1986 - "Joe Louis Memorial", Detroit, Michigan
*1984 - "Olympic Gateway" - Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
*1983 - "Fountain Figure No. 1", "Fountain Figure No. 2", and "Fountain Figure No. 3", Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Private commissions

*1978 - "Dance Door" - Los Angeles Music Center, Los Angeles, California
*2007 - "Spirit of California" - California Hall of Fame Medal


California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver announced on May 28, 2008 that Graham will be inducted into the California Hall of Fame, located at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts. The induction ceremony will take place December 10th and he will be inducted alongside 11 other legendary Californians.

External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Technology used to create Virgin Mary statue]
* [ Robert Graham at Ace Gallery]
* [ Robert Graham catalogue in artnet's "Artist Works Catalogues"]

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