Sculpture Explained...

Sculpture is a parable in three dimensions, a symbol of a spiritual experience, and a means of conveying truth by concentrating its essence into visible form.
-Malvina Hoffman

In her treatise, Sculpture Inside and Out, Malvina Hoffman (1885-1966) explored the power of sculpture to communicate as a universal language. Whether looking at the serene face of an ancient Athenian god, at Constantin Brancusi's sleek abstraction of a bird, Auguste Rodin's evocative lovers or Alexander Phimister Proctor's monumental Bronco Buster sited against the Denver skyline, these sculptures "speak" to us over many centuries and across as many continents and cultures. Underlying them are timeless expressions of universal emotions-the glue that binds us together as human beings on this marvelous planet we call Earth.

The history of sculpture, many would argue, is the history of humanity. Whether the forms are realistic or abstracted, nonobjective or expressionistic, sculpture today, as in past times and places, responds to life. It is not an imitation of life, but rather an interpretation. And wherever sculpture is placed or sited-in an outdoor garden, in a foyer or niche, or on a mantle or pedestal-it articulates the space around it, enlivening the view. A great sculpture is an object to be lived with, brightening each day with a renewed sense of excitement.

The Artist. Sculptors express themselves in three dimensions because it comes naturally-which is to say, that in many cases artists put their thoughts and ideas not into words but rather into visible shapes and forms. Nevertheless, as a collector, it behooves you to explore the credentials a person brings to their art.

Two documents you can expect to accompany your sculpture are an artist's resume and an artist's statement. The resume outlines the artist's education and the locations where they have displayed their sculptures-in galleries, art shows and sales, museum exhibitions and periodicals or books. Professional organizations the artist belongs to are also listed. Some organizations, such as the National Sculpture Society, are defined by the medium the artist works in, while others such as the National Academy of Design are competitive, requiring that the artist meet a set of standards determined by their peers. The artist statement, which is typically written first person by the artist him- or herself, reveals the ideas behind the sculpture, the artistic goals of expression, and/or the type of research that has gone into the sculpture. It should also address the level of quality and craftsmanship the artist brings to the sculpture.

Uniques and Multiples. Sculpture may be created in a variety of materials. Whatever the material, however, the sculpture typically falls into one of two categories: unique or multiples. Unique sculptures are created out of materials such as stone, wood, mixed media, or they may be fabricated out of metals. Unique pieces are one-of-a-kind. Bronzes, on the other hand, are typically cast in editions, falling into the category of multiples, with each casting considered an original work of art.

How is it possible to have more than one original? To appreciate this seeming anomaly, collectors should understand how the artist's original clay, plaster or wax model becomes a metal object. While the basics of the lost-wax bronze casting have not changed over the centuries, contemporary foundries have refined the process to an art form. Today's fine-art foundry artisans are masters of blending of industrial materials and aesthetic decision making. And while the artist creates one original model, each original casting in the edition goes through the following steps to find its way into reality.

Editions & Commissions. Each bronze in an edition goes through the process mentioned above, resulting in a hands-on original. Few rules guide the size of an edition these days. Some artists amortize their initial molding costs by running larger editions that spread the costs across more sculptures. Others prefer a smaller edition, with a commensurate higher price tag for each work.

Some sculptors are willing to work with collectors for special commissions or one-of-a-kind casts. While each artist works within his or her own guidelines, be aware that as noted in the casting process, the initial molds are the most costly and must be created whether you have an edition of one, ten or forty. If you prefer a single cast, know that all the initial costs will be borne in that one piece. In some cases, sculptors will discuss whether an edition of the piece is feasible, and will work with collectors on creating a reasonable number.

Moving a Sculpture. The packaging revolution has definitely made getting your sculpture home much easier than in the past. In most cases, boxes or crates with form-fitting foam that allows a sculpture to float in a negative cavity identical to its shape and size assure safe transport from the foundry or artist to your home. If you plan to transport a sculpture yourself, however, it should be protected from accidents and the elements of temperature or humidity changes. At a minimum, wrap the sculpture in soft, acid-free tissue or fabric to protect it from abrasion and place it in an acid-free box so that it will not move or tumble as it is moved. Do not use shredded newspaper, which has a high acidity and propensity to retain moisture. If you are storing a piece over an extended period of time, it is a good idea to speak with a conservator about the best way to keep it safe.

Caring for Your Sculpture. Just as your silver belt buckle or eating utensils oxidize due to chemicals in the air, on your hands or in water, metal sculptures can also further oxidize. And stone, despite its seeming durability, contains minerals that are affected by the elements surrounding it, notably the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and gasoline. Knowledge of what your sculpture is made of and how the elements will affect it over time are critical to preserving your investment.

How many times have you seen a bronze or stone rabbit sculpture with a discolored nose worn away by loving hands! Whether stone or metal, all sculptures should be handled with "kid gloves" or if nothing else, cotton gloves that will keep body oils and salts at bay and protect against rings or fingernails that can scratch or mar a surface.

Most bronze sculptures come from the foundry with a coat of wax or other sealants that retard oxidation, necessitating only a light dusting with a thoroughly laundered soft cotton felt or linen rag. If you are placing a work outdoors, however, there are increased hazards from tree sap, bird droppings, thorns, dog urine, fertilizers, swimming pool chemicals and snow-removal or lawn-care equipment. Prepare the piece for the outdoor elements by talking to the sculptor about where you plan to place it and the type of humidity it may encounter-which is absolutely crucial for fountains or water placements. Also attempt to site the sculpture where it will receive the least abuse. Inspect it often to determine if there are breaks in the surface polish or coating, which can rapidly deteriorate the entire surface. Diligently applying an annual coat of wax to a bronze helps protect your investment as well as your enjoyment!

Living with Sculpture. As with all art, sculpture has a number of elements that impact your decision to live with a piece in your home, office or garden. Because of its presence, a sculpture may first appeal not because of its subject matter, but because of its sheer existence in space. Scale and size are critical elements for both responding to sculpture and displaying it.

In the world of sculpture, there are a few terms that have come to convey size relative to display. Most table-top sculptures are created in a scale that allows them to be displayed in a home or office environment on a pedestal, coffee- or sofa table. Life-size works, as the name implies, are created using the standard or average dimensions of whatever is being depicted. Interestingly, most life-size works appear diminished in size once they are placed in the outdoors where the scale of external architecture, foliage and other objects dominates them. Heroic sculptures are larger than life-size (often by a quarter or half) and tend to better withstand the scale of outdoor display, while monumental sculptures are scaled so large they inevitably have to be displayed outdoors.

Sculptures are designed to be viewed in the round, so placing your sculpture in a place where you can look at all sides of it, or where you can physically move around it adds to your enjoyment of the piece. Some sculptures are based on turntables that allow them to be spun around for viewing ? just remember that the farthest point of the piece must be able to pass by a wall or any other potential obstacle!

Whether installed indoors or outdoors, sculpture is all about light and shadow. Many times the power of the piece can be totally lost if placed in an area too dark or too light for seeing the subtleties of textures, shadows and silhouettes that make a work so intriguing. Indirect natural lighting is often preferred, since it allows a sculpture to change as the light changes in a room or in an outdoor space. Contemporary lighting technology, whether flood, spot or pinpoint, can add dramatic effects, so definitely experiment with a variety of possibilities.

Once you've added several sculptures to your home or garden, you will begin to detect relationships between them that create whole new planes of seeing. Dramatic focal points or subtle surprises engage the senses, redefining the space and beguiling the eye. Powerful verticals may direct the gaze upward, while restful horizontals create a mood of quiet repose. Indoors, a sculpture placed in relationship to a painting hanging on the wall can generate a whole story. Outdoors, a sculpture greeting visitors to your home or office can create the kind of atmosphere you want to communicate.

Whatever your goals in acquiring sculpture, you will quickly learn that, as Malvina Hoffman noted, a sculpture is a spiritual experience that captures the essence of reality into visible form. It promises a lifetime of pleasure to be passed on for generations.

Collecting Sculpture

Add a new dimension to your life!

Sculpture is a three-dimensional art form that lives with you every day, providing excitement and new ways of seeing the world at every turn. The beauty of life preserved in these interpretations redefines your place in the universe.

Whether metal or stone, wood or ceramic, sculpture is a family heirloom to be passed from generation to generation. SculptureCOLLECTOR showcases the finest unique and limited-edition sculpture in the world. Subjects range from historical to contemporary, from animals to people. Styles run the gamut, including detailed realism, impressionism and abstraction. Browse our catalogue and web site, www.sculpturecollector.com, to find three-dimensional artworks that will elevate the visual joy in your life.

Collecting Fine Limited Edition Original Sculpture
Fine Investment Quality Original Limited Edition Sculpture is for now and the future. It can be at its best when placed where it can be experienced often. It is important to start collecting...it will become an integral part of your life. Other people around it will experience the joy as well! Fine Original Limited Edition Sculpture finds its place in so many parts of your life. It can dramatically change the environment in which it lives!

  • In the home
  • Both Indoors and Outdoors
  • In the Office
  • As a precious gift that will always be remembered
  • Sculpture always makes such a wonderful statement
  • Famous Sculpture is handed down from generation to generation
  • Sculpture Collector can assist you in acquiring all the right pieces from our many world renowned Sculptors.
  • Lost Wax Process

    Uniques and Multiples: Sculpture may be created in a variety of materials. Whatever the material, however, the sculpture typically falls into one of two categories: unique or multiples. Unique sculptures are created out of materials such as stone, wood, mixed media, or they may be fabricated out of metals. Unique pieces are one-of-a-kind. Bronzes, on the other hand, are typically cast in editions, falling into the category of multiples, with each casting considered an original work of art.

    How is it possible to have more than one original? To appreciate this seeming anomaly, collectors should understand how the artist's original clay, plaster or wax model becomes a metal object. While the basics of the lost-wax bronze casting have not changed over the centuries, contemporary foundries have refined the process to an art form. Today's fine-art foundry artisans are masters of blending of industrial materials and aesthetic decision making. And while the artist creates one original model, each original casting in the edition goes through the following steps to find its way into reality.

    The basic precept of the casting process is a series of negative and positive molds taken from the artist's original sculpture. And since only very small sculptures can be cast in one piece, most artists cut the original sculpture into sections, each of which is molded and cast separately, then reassembled into the whole.

    Negative Mold #1: The initial "negative" mold taken from the original is by far the most critical step, as well as the most expensive. This mold is typically made out of a liquid rubber that is brushed on to the original sculpture in several layers. When solidified the rubber captures all the subtle nuances of form and surface detail. This pliable mold must be backed with several coats of plaster and burlap that form a solid mother mold supporting the rubber mold.

    Positive Mold #2: The mother mold is used to create a positive wax reproduction of the sculpture. Once hardened, the wax must be carefully chased, or smoothed so that no irregularities distract from the artist's original.

    Negative Mold #3: The wax positive is repeatedly dipped into liquid ceramic slurry that hardens into a heat-resistant shell thoroughly encasing all of the wax. Once this shell is heated, the wax positive inside melts and drains out (hence lost-wax process) through several sprues and funnels that have been added, leaving a negative mold or cavity. Emptied of wax, the cavity is ready for the metal.

    Positive Mold #4: Molten bronze is poured into the cavity of the ceramic shell and allowed to solidify. The ceramic shell is chipped or sandblasted away leaving positive metal which, if the sculpture was cut into parts, must be welded together into the full sculpture. Chasing again takes place, assuring that no evidence of the joinery remains. The seams are then retextured to match the surroundings, creating a flawless unified surface.

    But the process is not yet over. The raw bronze will be resurfaced using a variety of methods. The most traditional surface is called a patina or an oxidation process in which acidic solutions are applied with or without heat to color the surface. Nowadays, patina technology has advanced to such an extent that there are countless colors, as well as special effects that imitate stone and other materials. Also common is the use of acrylic paints, or polychrome on sculptures, which adds brilliant, jewel-like effects to details or surfaces.

    Some Sculpture Terminology involing the casting process:
    Bronze is an alloy of 95% copper, 4% silicon and 1% manganese with traces of other elements such as iron. Silicon bronze has been the bronze of choice for fine art castings since its development in the 1920's. It is corrosion-resistant, strong, resilient, formable and weldable. Also known as "hot-cast" bronze, a fine art "lost-wax" casting of silicon bronze is created through many labor-intensive steps.

    1. Clay ~ "The Original," clay is modeled to the desired form usually over an armature which supports the weight of the clay. Bas-reliefs may require an armature consisting of a grid of screws connected with wires to prevent clay from sliding. Very small sculptures are often modeled directly in wax which, though more difficult to model, allows for maximum detail.

    2. Mold ~ A mold is made of the original. Excellent surface replication of the original can be achieved with a polyurethane mold compound or a high-quality silicon rubber. Layers of rubber ave are applied to the original over the course of several days. While the original is inside, a JACKET is formed around the flexible, rubber mold for support. The jacket, made of plaster, Hydrocal, or resin, prevents distortion after the original has been removed. The original is destroyed upon demolding. The mold is a NEGATIVE of the original which was a POSITIVE. Three-dimensional sculptures usually require multiple-piece molds. The learning process for making an excellent multiple piece rubber mold can take years. A novice should hire a professional, or make a plaster waste-mold of the original and make a plaster cast, a POSITIVE. From this solid POSITIVE a rubber mold can be made without risk of "losing" the original. The highest quality mold will save much time and money in production.

    3. Wax ~ Liquid wax is poured, ladled or brushed into the mold. When the wax is cool, the mold is removed.

    4. Wax Chasing ~ I repair seams, air bubbles, etc. in my waxes. I wish I could find a professional with the patience to chase my work.

    5. SCULPTOR INSPECTS !

    6. Spruing ~ The finished wax is a POSITIVE replica of the original clay. The wax s sprued, gated, with wax tubes which provide channels for the molten bronze to enter the wax sculpture. Small wax vents are attached to allow air to escape. A wax funnel is attached to the gates.

    7. Ceramic Shell ~ The finished wax is dipped into a clay slurry, ceramic shell, which picks up minute surface details from the wax. It is allowed to thoroughly dry. It is dipped and dried about eight times. This can take several days depending on the level of humidity.

    8. Burn-Out ~ The completed ceramic shell is inverted and heated in an oven. This causes the wax to melt out, thus becoming "lost." When the shell is cool. it is taken to a securely walled "sand box." The shell is surrounded by sand for support to protect it from breakage during the bronze pour. The NEGATIVE space in the ceramic shell will become the POSITIVE bronze casting.

    9. Casting ~ Bronze is heated in a furnace to approximately 2250? Fahrenheit. Workers in protective face shields, clothing, gloves and boots carefully pour the molten bronze into the supported shell. When the bronze is cool, the shell is broken away. The bronze is blasted with tiny beads to remove the ceramic shell. Gates and vents are sawed off. The cast is considered a "raw metal."

    10. Metal Chasing ~ A "metal chaser" carefully aligns, welds and repairs seams, gates and vents to closely resemble the artist's original surface.

    11. Blasting

    ~ The cast is bead-blasted clean in preparation for patina. It is a glowing platinum color.

    12. SCULPTOR INSPECTS!

    13. Patina ~ Chemicals are applied to the bronze which has been heated with a blow torch. The patineur and the sculptor decide between two sealants to protect the patina. The traditional method of protection is to apply several thin coats of clear paste wax to the surface which is then lightly buffed with a soft, clean, cotton cloth. This patina should last indefinitely indoors. However, if people repeatedly touch certain areas, the bronze may be expected to eventually shine through. Because today's outdoor atmosphere is more corrosive and carries a higher content of manmade pollutants, a more durable lacquer, metal protectant is recommended. Incralac? is one such sealant designed specifically for copper and its alloys. Since Incralac? produces a plastic-looking, high-gloss finish, the sculpture must be waxed to create the soft look of a traditional patina.

    Bonded Bronze AKA "Cold-Cast" Bronze, is primarily resin. The surface is a skin of resin into which bronze powder has been blended. Bonded Marble is resin with marble powder. With a low-luster white surface, it is subtle and quite beautiful. Bonded Bronze and Bonded Marble are hand-cast, hand-finished, lighter-weight and less-expensive alternatives to bronze. Pewter, an alloy of nickel and silver, is another less-costly alternative.

    Shrinkage will occur in any casting process. The mold shrinks. The wax shrinks. The metal shrinks. A sculpture which in clay was 26" long may be 25H" long in metal. Although I chase each of my waxes and check each finished metal, due to the handmade nature of this process, each cast and each patina will be similar but unique.

    Volumes have been written on the subjects of mold-making, casting and patina. I hope you have found this overview interesting and enlightening.

    Recommended reading: Patinas for Silicon Bronze and The Care of Bronze Sculpture -- by Patrick V. Kipper Rogers & Nelson Publishing Co., P.O. Box 7001, Loveland, CO 80537.0001 USA

    Primary Sale and Secondary Resale Sculpture Markets...

    Add a new dimension to your life!

    This is the place to FIND, PURCHASE, and SELL Fine Limited Edition Original Sculpture in the Secondary Sculpture Market Worldwide.

    The Primary Sculpture Market: The primary sculpture market is made up of sculpture that sells for the first time.

    The Secondary Resale Sculpture Market:
    The secondary sculpture market is different from the primary sculpture market in that ... the primary sculpture market can be understood or interpreted as the first time a sculpture sells. The secondary sculpture market is what happens with a piece of sculpture after that first sale: when a collector, a person, company, municipality, family or trust that inherited the sculpture or a person or trust that was gifted a piece of sculpture decides to sell. There are also those who speculate in the secondary sculpture market.

    Here are two pieces of sculpture...can you tell the difference? One is primary, the other secondary...there is rarely any difference in quality or presenetation.

    Martha Pettigrew bronze sculpture


    Soledad
    Martha Pettigrew

    PRIMARY MARKET

    Frederick Hart Bronze Sculpture


    Daughters of Odessa
    Frederick Hart

    SECONDARY MARKET