Saturday, April 02, 2016


Milton Horn, "Travail"???, 1966, plaster

When I purchased "Who Walketh Upon the Wind" this piece was thrown in - presumably because it was not expected to sell by itself.  It's not a very pleasant subject matter - and it's just a plaster cast  - even if a unique one.

Not surprisingly, it was made - and hung - amidst a fine collection of Medieval European sculpture.

The piece is not mentioned in the 1989  Spertus exhibition catalog.  I believe it depicts the discomfort, anxiety, and even fear of an expectant mother.  I vaguely recall that it was called "Travail", but I'm not sure.

Milton Horn, "Pain", 1970 

A rather odd subject matter, isn't it?  Definitely in the tradition of Kathe Kollwitz.  Feeling  the pain of others is about as far from the post-war American mentality as one can get.

But Milton and Estelle were far removed from that mentality - even if they lived in a central Chicago neighborhood that was rapidly becoming  gentrified. They didn't even own a car.

As I recall,  Milton made a few other works on related themes, most notably "The Birth of a Poet" (1970), a bronze figure of a woman in a birthing chair and an infant emerging from her womb. Also there is "Travail"(1966) a 50" X 20" walnut relief which was probably based on the plaster piece shown at the top.

Regrettfully, a catalogue raisonné has yet to be published.

Cosmo Campoli, "The Birth of Death", 1950

Come to think of it, Chicago's Monster Roster from the 1950's were also influenced by Medieval and tribal sculpture - and the dark side of the human experience.

But, for the most part, their work belongs in a theme park's haunted house - rather than a temple, cathedral, or shrine.


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