Biografie von Robert LAURENT (1890-1970)

Birth place: Concarneau, France

Death place: Cape Neddick, ME

Addresses: Brooklyn/Ogunquit, Me, until 1942; Bloomington, IN, 1942-62; Brooklyn, NY/Cape Neddick, ME, 1966

Profession: Sculptor, educator, collector, framemaker

Studied: NYC, 1901-04; Paris, 1905-06; British Acad., Rome, 1907-10, with Hamilton Easter Field, Frank Burty, M. Sterne, and framemaker Giuseppe Doratori

Exhibited: Arden Gal., NYC, 1913; Daniel Gal., NYC, 1915 (first solo), 1917 (solo); S. Indp. A., 1917-22; Salons of Am., 1922-36; WMAA, 1922-62; AIC, 1928-43 (prize, 1938); Valentine Gal., solos, 1928, 1941; PAFA Ann., 1934-60 frequently; Rochester, NY, 1936 (group show); WFNY 1939; GGE, 1939; BM, 1942 (prize); John Herron AI, 1943-45, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953 (prizes); J.B. Speed Mus. Art, 1954 (prize); Hoosier Salon, 1945-49, 1952-53 (prizes); Audubon Artists, 1945; Indiana Artists, 1957, 1959 (prizes); Kraushaar Gal. (solos; retrospective in 1972); Rome, Italy, 1955; Richmond Mus. Art, 1957 (solo); Indiana Univ., Laurent ó 50 Years of Sculpture," 1961 (retro.); Univ. of NH, 1972 (retro.); BM; MMA; Arts & Crafts Club, New Orleans, LA, (solo); Vassar College (solo); CGA, (solo); Bourgeois Gal. (solo);"

Member: Audubon Artists; NSS; Salons of Am.; Sculptors Gld., AEA; Am. Soc. PS&G; Modern Artists Am.; Brooklyn Soc. Mod. Artists; H.E. Field Art Fnd.; Woodstock AA

Work: WMAA; BM; AIC; Newark Mus.; Vassar College; Ariz. State College; PAFA; Univ. Nebraska; Barnes Fnd.; Brookgreen Gardens, SC; Hamilton Easter Field Fnd.; Radio City Music Hall, NY; Fed. Trade Bldg., Wash., DC; MMA; IBM Coll.; Norton Gal. Art; MoMA; Indiana Univ.; mural, USPO, Garfield, NJ; fountain, St. Andrews Cathedral, Honolulu; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford; Spanning the Continent," part of the Samuel Mem., Fairmount Park, Phila., PA;large fountain, "Birth of Venus," Indiana Univ., 1961."

Comments: Modernist sculptor and one of the earliest of the direct carvers. Laurent's talent was discovered early by Hamilton Easter Field, who oversaw Laurent's artistic training, bringing him to NYC in 1901 and sending Laurent to Europe for further study in 1905. In Paris, Laurent was exposed to avant-garde art and came to know the work of Picasso, Alexander Archipenko, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, and Aristide Maillol, and was introduced to primitive art as well. Laurent returned to NYC in 1910 and at the age of 20 was carving frames for his artist-friends, including La Farge, Kroll, Hassam, and Henri, and for wealthy collectors like Dr. Albert Barnes, who commissioned a large number of frames. In these same years, Laurent was carving the earliest of his wood sculptures and by 1915, when he had his first solo, he was the only sculptor in NYC carving works "directly" in wood. During the 1920s he began working directly in stone, particularly in alabaster. Laurent was also a major collector of American Folk art, having inherited Field's collection and adding to it substantially. Well-known to artists, critics, and collectors, Laurent's collection helped to generate strong interest in American native art. He also collected French paintings & sculpture; Japanese prints & paintings; and early Italian drawings. Teaching: ASL, c. 1923-42; dir. and teacher, Ogunquit Sch. P.&S., c. 1923-; prof., Indiana Univ., Bloomington, IN, 1942-59, Emeritus, 1960-. Other positions: pres., Hamilton Easter Field Fnd.; artist-in-residence, Am. Acad. in Rome, 1954-55. Contributor to Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1946, 1957.

Sources: WW66; WW47; exhib. cat., Univ. NH (Durham, 1972) courtesy Eli Wilner Co., NYC; Fort, The Figure in American Sculpture, 209-10 (w/repro.); Craven, Sculpture in America, 573-576; Woodstock AA; Falk, Exh. Record Series.

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