Mother and Child
1950, cast stone
Exaggerated features characterize Umlauf's early decades and reveal Michelangelo's subtle influence. The elongated neck and oversized hands here may also indicate maternal compassion. The Garden has only three cast stone sculptures, an inexpensive alternative to carving in marble or casting in bronze.
Mother and Child (Refugees)
This sculpture features a stoic, central female figure looking upward, cradling a child in her arms. Note Umlauf’s signature motifs of oversized hands and upturned face that continue his exploration of the refugees theme.
While reclining female figures are a common theme throughout the history of art, it is unusual to see a male form in that pose. Yet this is Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha of Bethany, rising out of the tomb after Jesus brought him back to life. In1949, he made a small terra cotta Lazarus (also in the Museum collection), which he enlarged and cast into bronze the following year.
The Greek Titan, Prometheus, is lauded for his intelligence, ingenuity, and for championing mankind. After he stole fire from the gods to give to mankind, Zeus chained him to a rock and sent an eagle to eat his liver every day.
Beast of Burden
Beast of Burden features only the donkey as a study or preparatory work for Entrance into Jerusalem. Umlauf made the armature himself and shaped plaster over it, thus eliminating several stages in the process of casting in bronze.
Entrance to Jerusalem
Depicting Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the artist sculpted this directly in plaster, rather than clay, to save steps in the arduous process of translating the figure into bronze. The head of the Louisiana Catholic parish was so taken by the model that he commissioned a life-size casting.
Figure of Boy
The artist’s youngest child, Tom, was the model here. Umlauf painted a plaster version to mimic bronze before he cast this in metal, a practice he learned in art school during the lean Depression years.
This classical figure of a young girl stands with head to the side and sloped shoulders with no arms. Loosely modeled after Ancient Greek and Roman sculptures, she stands in contrapposto, with her weight on one leg. This is the only casting of Young Girl.
1956, cast stone
Poetess pays homage to Charles’ wife, Angeline Allen Umlauf (1915–2012). A frequent model for her husband, she wrote poetry her entire life. The sculpture is an allegorical representation of poetic inspiration while also referring specifically to Angeline, who was instrumental in creating this Sculpture Garden for the City of Austin.
During summers, when Robert E. Lee was still a dirt road, the Umlauf children ran down the hill from their home, cutting through "the weeds" to swim at Barton Springs. Thirty years later, "the weeds" became this Garden. The model was the Umlaufs’ son, Arthur, who admitted he could only hold this pose for a few minutes at a time.
John the Baptist
The Garden feature two John the Baptist sculptures, both of which emphasize John's ascetic appearance following his years spent alone in the wilderness. The upward pointing finger foretells the coming of Christ.
John the Baptist
Umlauf excelled at conveying an individual's life story through well-chosen details. John the Baptist's craggy features, skeletal condition, and animal hide recall his years spent in the wilderness. This Baptist is decidedly more Christ-like than the version toward the front of the Garden.
This work was originally created in stoneware, a durable, high-fired terra cotta with pre-fired ground-up clay mixed in so it does not shrink like terra cotta. Also titled Negress, the subject is an African American woman named Katherine Luster who modeled at the UT Art Department.
Umlauf made numerous seated and standing bathers throughout 1958 in preparation for his Valley House Gallery retrospective in Dallas the next year. This bather, cast in bronze in 1965, is exactly the size of its stoneware prototype. An enlarged version (#31) is nearby in the garden, allowing viewers to consider how scale affects form.
The model is posed in an impossible reclining position, with no support under her torso. Umlauf may have eliminated whatever his model was leaning against to focus attention singularly on her form.