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1970 - 1985
1970, bronze Like many Americans in 1968, Umlauf was transfixed by the first televised coverage in color of the Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. Inspired by Peggy Fleming's grace, he paid homage to her with this bronze balanced on a single blade. The 19-year-old Fleming won the only gold medal for the United States.
1970, bronze French sculptor Auguste Rodin’s Kiss (1889) inspired Umlauf’s own version. Where Rodin’s figures occupy a compact space, Umlauf extended the female figure’s leg dramatically. The Kiss evolved through a progression of sizes; first as a small study, then a 22 inch scale model, and finally this full-size piece.
Hope of Humanity
1971, bronze This is the scale model for a 12’6” sculpture commissioned by the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Umlauf documented the entire process with photos for the book, The Sculpture and Drawing of Charles Umlauf (1980, University of Texas Press).
St. Francis with Birds
1972, bronze Charles Umlauf repeatedly returned to the theme of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and the environment. The sculptor himself positioned this large Francis, sparrows at his feet, to face toward the Garden's bronze animals.
1972, bronze Eve's uplifted arms are traditionally interpreted as shielding her eyes from God's wrath after the Fall, yet here her pose is more ambiguous, with a softness and vulnerability characteristic of Umlauf's 1960s and early 1970s period.
Mother & Child
1972, bronze One of Umlauf's favorite subjects, in both secular and religious interpretations, was the mother and child. The upward gaze is also characteristic of many of his sculptures and drawings. This is among a handful of works in the Garden with a brown patina.
1972, bronze This figure, in a traditional habit and hood, stands with her eyes closed and hands clasped together in prayer. A cross on a rosary is incised into the bronze of her garment.
Standing Figure - Darlene
1975, bronze Darlene was one of Professor Umlauf's favorite models in the 1970s. The Museum also owns a drawing and bronze bust of Darlene, who is easily recognized by her strong cheekbones. This is one of four portraits in the Garden.
1975, bronze This is one of many versions of the Lovers, a series consisting of Lovers I-X. Lovers V began with a 9 inch preliminary sketch that was enlarged to a 22 inch scale model and then finally into a life-size work. Umlauf frequently used this progression of sizes to work out design problems that might occur when casting a life-size work.
Eve with Apple
1975, bronze Cast in Pietrasanta, Italy, this Eve’s face is based on one of Umlauf’s favorite models, Nancy. The Museum also owns a 51” casting, frequently on view in the Gallery.
Bambino su Cuscino
1976, bronze Umlauf titled this work only in Italian, a reflection of his dedication to working in Italy every summer. He used an unusual patina to make the sculpture appear golden. With four boys of his own, the artist diplomatically called this “everyone's” baby rather than identifying it as a specific child.
Come Unto Me
1976, bronze This bronze bas-relief is the one-quarter size model for the central panel above the entrance doors to Christ Episcopal Church in San Antonio. In bas-relief (meaning “low” relief), the sculptor carves directly into a flat surface of clay to reveal only one side of a figure or image.
1977, bronze The nude figure stands en pointe with her chest thrust forward, head tilted back and her arms bent backward as they graze her long hair. Because of the grace of their movement and the sculptural quality of their bodies, ballerinas are a favorite subject of artists.
1977, bronze This small-scale model is the first sculpture in the artist’s 1970s Lovers series. The heavily modeled surface reveals traces of the rough textured clay in the finished bronze.
1979, bronze From his many trips to the Chicago Zoo during his youth, Umlauf was inspired by the shape of the rhinoceros. Note the acute detail in this small-scale creature, whose horn has become shiny from generations of Garden visitors.
1979, bronze This 1979 bronze casting, with its rich brown patina, retains the indentations and texture of the sculptor's original 1964 clay model.
1979, bronze Texture and pose animate this little javelina, also known as a peccary or "skunk pig." The Garden owns one of only two castings in existence.
1981, bronze Among many other sculptures, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish Catholic Church in Lake Charles, Louisiana commissioned a large angel group from Umlauf. This full-sized wing hints at the vast scale of the overall project.
St. Michael & Lucifer
1985, bronze As written in the Bible, the archangel St. Michael led God’s armies against Lucifer’s army, defeating Satan himself in battle. Umlauf sculpts both Michael and Lucifer as youthful and muscular, perhaps reminding the viewer that the devil can inhabit any form. He cast this scale model for a sculpture one and a half times this size.
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