Editor's note: The following biography was published in Resource Library on June 1, 2006 with text provided by Eugene Fairbanks, BA, MD, second son of Avard Fairbanks. Eugene Fairbanks could be reached at that time at 2607 Vining Street, Bellingham, WA 98226-4230; E-mail: genefbanks@comcast.net; phone: 360- 733-3852; website: www. fairbanksartandbooks.com.



 

THE LIFE AND WORK OF AVARD TENNYSON FAIRBANKS,

BFA, MFA, MA, PhD, DFA, hon.

Sculptor Anatomist, and Educator

by Eugene Fairbanks

 

An outspoken advocate for the teaching of excellence and high principles in art, was one of America's most distinguished Twentieth Century sculptors, Avard T. Fairbanks. During an age when sensationalism was overemphasized, he diligently labored to create great masterpieces of lasting value. He endeavored to impart to his students an appreciation and awareness of the beauty of the human body, its structural anatomy, and its dynamic harmony. They have been taught to re-create not only the form, but also the action, and the expression of mood and personality. In reality, this is the manifest criteria that separates the artist from a craftsman.

An introduction to his biography is best demonstrated by his quotations about the ideals and significance of monuments in general.

No masterful work in sculpture is ever developed without one's total efforts and intense feelings being completely involved in a presentation of a great historical character, whether it be a Moses of Ancient Israel, a Lycurgus of Greece, a Joan of Arc of France, or a Lincoln of America. The spirit of a nation which such a person assists in building and the hopes, the ideals and aspirations of a people whom he or she served need to be sensed and compressed into a moment of action for one figure.
 
Thus the pose and the attitude of the total composition must express an expanse of time and vibrate to the sympathetic reactions of millions of people who will capture in a moment's glance, the beliefs, the hopes, and all those finer impulses to heroic deeds and actions which elevate our cultural objectives for a finer civilization, to be the inspiration of all mankind.
 
All great works of art are universal. In becoming known they traverse all boundaries and their influences are not confined to a particular locality. Nevertheless, as the human spirit finds its expression through a particular individual, likewise a spirit in finding its self-expression in permanent materials of bronze or stone is focalized and is located so that it may have place and standing in our world.

In 1939, as his Lincoln The Frontiersman statue for Hawaii was nearing completion, a photograph was given to a visiting newspaper reporter. A few weeks later, much to his surprise and delight, a dozen of the nation's leading journals featured that portrait on the Lincoln's Birthday edition. the Detroit News printed it as a full page reproduction. this was a spontaneous editorial recognition of a masterpiece. The sculptor had molded into lifeless clay, the feelings, the animation and the character of a great historic figure, re-created in the vigor of youth.

 

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