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Frederick Hart


Frederick Hart is widely known as a master sculptor and has been described as America’s greatest representational artist. Hart beyond his success in traditional sculpture pioneered the use of clear acrylic resin to create cast figurative sculptures. Not only did he create works of great beauty and gravitas, but he was also singularly responsible for restoring America’s public monuments and memorials through his master artisanal skills.

Frederick Hart was born on June 7, 1943, in Atlanta, right at the cusp of when the United States joined the Second World War. His father served in the Navy during Hart’s during most of Hart’s early childhood years and tragically, Hart’s mother and older brother died of scarlet fever when he was only 2 years of age. Despite a trialing childhood and turbulent adolescences, Hart was an incredibly intelligent young man, whose perfect test scores gained him admissions to many college institutions, such as the University of South Carolina. However, Hart’s studies were cut short after his participation in a Civil Rights protest in 1961. His outspoken manner in racial activism and equality attracted the attention of the Ku Klux Klan, causing him to leave for Washington, D.C. There, Hart found solace in the Corcoran School of Art, and quickly gravitated towards stone carving and he later won a design competition for a sculptural facade on the Washington National Cathedral.

As his interest in sculpture began to flourish, Frederick Hart became an apprentice stone carver at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. and began assisting in gargoyle construction and maintenance. There at the cathedral, Hart was able to explore the craftsmanship of classical sculpture and how to truly work the discipline. In 1971, the cathedral hosted a competition to reconfigure their West façade. Hart saw this is a grand opportunity and the monumental three tympana sculpture, including “Ex Nihlo” “Creation of Day” and “Creation of Night”, was born. The structure spanned twenty-one feet and reached two stories high and also depicted three trumeau figures, St. Peter, St. Paul and Adam. He won the competition and afterward many projects and opportunities started knocking on his door.

In 1982 the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial Fund commissioned Frederick Hart to create a representational sculpture for their monument. This historic work in bronze entitled Three Soldier was the first Memorial to have African American representation on the National Mall in Washington D.C. Dedicated by President Reagan in November 1984 by President Reagan, the monument continues to be visited and appreciated by thousands of people today. In 1997, Hart presented a unique casting of The Cross of the Millennium to Pope John Paul II in a private ceremony at the Vatican in Rome. When it was unveiled, Pope John Paul II called this sculpture “a profound theological statement for our day.” Martin Lawrence Galleries is proud to own select works of Frederick Hart’s, which can be seen here.

"I believe that art has a moral responsibility, that it must pursue something higher than itself. Art must be a part of life. It must exist in the domain of the common man. It must be an enriching, ennobling and vital partner in the public pursuit of civilization. It should be a majestic presence in everyday life just as it was in the past."
"If art is to flourish in the twenty-first century, it must renew its moral authority by rededicating itself to life. It must be an enriching, ennobling and vital partner in the public pursuit of civilization. It should be a majestic presence in everyday life just as it was in the past."