Saturday, November 06, 2010

Freeman Schoolcraft

Dedicated to Peace

Just discovered
this local sculptor,
Freeman Schoolcraft (1905-1983)
in the catalog
of the Chicago Vicinity Show of 1948

(the exhibition of local artists
sponsored annually by the Art Institute of Chicago
before it was discontinued
by the last director, James Wood, in the 1980's)

And since it's heavy monumentality
resembled the above figure
that my father made in 1946,
it caught my attention.

(even if it doesn't quite have the gentle swing
that R.J. put into his)

And while we're comparing things,
might as well throw in this piece
by Milton Horn
that was done
about the same time.
(and is a bit more turbulent)

As a highschool student in Jackson, Michigan,
Freeman's work was noticed by Laredo Taft
who was in town doing some monuments.

So he was encouraged to study with Taft in Chicago,
and he later got
some nice commissions
from the W.P.A.,
like the above facade
of a courthouse in Peoria.

But tastes rapidly changed in the post-war era,
and though Freeman updated his style,
it just wasn't enough to hang onto
a career in the artworld.

So, like many artists of his generation,
he ended up as a teacher,
in his case,
moving to a small state college
in Augusta, Georgia.

Here's his last piece.

He made the maquette,
and students did the rest.

He looked like an old sculptor,
didn't he ?


Blogger La Maison Francaise said...

Good evening, I knew Freeman a bit and was in awe of and delighted by him. I lived in Augusta until a few years back and his daughters are around my age. Such a gentle, kind, deliberate man. Just today I wandered around his former house and its property which is now for sale. I walked exactly where he is standing, which is in front of a handsome Italianate door. The curved panels at the top are not visible.

February 16, 2013  
Blogger chris miller said...

Thank you for sharing your story. He looks like a very gentle man in that photograph.

February 17, 2013  
Blogger Mishka said...

Freeman was married to my maternal aunt (Cora Middleton Schoolcraft) who was also an artist. I always enjoyed hanging out with him. He was quite the fisherman and had some acreage with a pond, where he died of a heart attack. We caught many a catfish - he loved catfish stew and hush puppies....

He moved to Augusta after his 1st heart attack and did far more painting than sculpting while there. Not by choice, I think.

I liked his later paintings much more than his earlier sculpting, which still makes me think of Soviet art that I saw in post WWII East Germany.

In his paintings, he was experimenting with light patterns, and I remember telling him that I liked one of his paintings upside-down best. He did a wonderful bronze bust of my grandfather that was so realistic that it would scare the hell out of me in the dark living room of my grandparent's home.

After John Kennedy's assassination, Freeman did a HUGE bronze bust of Kennedy. I was away when it was completed, so I never knew what happened to it.

February 24, 2013  
Blogger Bighearted said...

I picked up a little sculpture that looks like a self-portrait and it is signed "Schoolcraft" and looks like this gentleman. Could it be something he made and how would one find this out. Sincerely, Pam Dowell, Cohasset, Minnesota

October 05, 2013  
Blogger chris miller said...

I wish I knew! But you send me a photo image of it, I'll post it and we'll see whether anyone else ever recognizes it.

October 06, 2013  

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