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Robert Graham, 1938-2008

December 28, 2008 |  4:10 pm

Robert Graham

Sculptor Robert Graham died Saturday at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, after being ill for about six months.

The Venice-based artist was known for his large public projects across the United States -- in Los Angeles, he created a set of free-standing bronze doors for the Music Center, a sculpture of two headless figures at the Memorial Coliseum for the 1984 Olympics and the "Great Bronze Doors" for the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. You can see some of his legacy across the city here.

But the highly productive Graham also showed a fascination for the female form on a more intimate scale, which was on display at a show that closed earlier this year at USC's Fisher Gallery. (Read David Pagel's review of the show, "Body of Work," here.)

Graham, who was inducted into the California Hall of Fame about two weeks ago, was married to actress Anjelica Huston.

Photo: Robert Graham in his Venice studio in 2000. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (3)

God bless Robert, a man of inspiration, not afraid to take a chance under any circumstance. Never shy to show his love for female beauty regardless of who might try to censor his vision. God bless his family. He will be remembered as an innovator in life and art. Keep smiling Robert, everytime I drive around the Venice circle, you will be remembered! I'll make a wish and hope other artists will arise to make bold new statements, like the ones you did. So, now you will always be watching over your Anjel. Rest In Peace.

Master Figurative Sculptor Robert Graham was a huge influence on my work and style, form his female figure studies to the diversity of his public works. I was shocked and deeply upset to hear of his premature death. Now I have no one to mention, when asked 'which living sculptors do you admire', no one.

While I enjoy his work, I certainly have never seen this supposed "wide range of positions and poses" he is written up as doing. He was a classicist, more taken with teh porch on the Acroplosi than the frieze of the Parthenon. Stiff, uprgith, maye i have missed alot of his work, and certainly am sorry I miss his show at USC, his bodies were always stiff, actually posed to be above time, and not filled with life. Not a Degas or Bonnard or Rodin by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe comapred to teh selxess tripe we have in msot of Contemp Art, but if you all had ever actualy studied art from the beginnings of mankind, you would see his work in a realistic viewpoint, it isnt. Its clasicalized, not energetic and life entwined. Hindu and Buddhist sculptures are often erect, but filled with sensuality, one of sexual release and organic growth, not the freezing in time of a perfected body. More dead than alive.

Good artist, great by our low slung standards.

art colegia delenda est


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