Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jeffrey Spring lectures at the Bruce Museum

October 1, 2012

"This was a wonderful opportunity to take the presentation I usually offer at the foundry, on the road. With the help of an exceptional movie made by director's George Stoney and David Bagnall titled, "Casting Gaston Lachaise's Standing Woman", I was able to provide the audience a visual of each step in the process of creating a bronze sculpture. The presentation  was two hours and the docents and friends of the museum were given the opportunity throughout to ask questions."

Standing Woman (Heroic Woman)
Bronze, 88 x 41 1/8 x 19 1/8 inches

Face & Figure
The Sculpture of Gaston Lachaise
to January 6, 2013
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT 06830


Photo credit: Patricia Bradshaw

Monday, September 17, 2012

80th ANNIVERSARY Celebration

The New York Times did an article on us which ran Sunday, September 9, 2012, in the Metropolitan section. The title of the article is;

click the following link to view.....

Modern Art Foundry
Serving Artists and Communities Since 1932.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Charles Eugene Gagnon
February 24, 1934 – April 28, 2012

It is with great sadness that we report the death of sculptor Charles Eugene Gagnon, who passed away recently at his residence in Rochester, Minnesota.

From an early age, 1970 or so, I remember Mr. & Mrs. Gagnon visiting the foundry one to two times each year. They would always come to our house one evening for dinner. I remember one time in particular, as we had dinner in Chinatown, which perhaps, was the first time I ever went to that area in Manhattan. Also, without a gap, each year, Mr. & Mrs. Gagnon would send us a poinsettia and a selection of cheeses for our Christmas party. Knowing Chuck all those years made it very easy for us to transition from him working with my father, Bob, to his working with me.  

In 2008, we completed one of Chuck's last major works, a beautiful piece he titled "Bird" with a 5-foot wingspan just touching the top of a wave, the model is shown below in clay. It was a commission for him that is installed on a resort in the Caribbean Island.  

  ("Bird" Clay Model)

Charles Gagnon was born to Eugene and Inez Gagnon and married his best friend, Arlyn Wind in 1964. For almost fifty years, we provided him casting services and considered him both a customer and a friend. Arlyn and he would visit the foundry almost every year from the mid-1960's to just as recently as last year. 

A Memorial Service was held May 5, at the Ranfranz & Vine Funeral Homes' Chapel in Rochester, Minnesota.  

Mr. Gagnon is survived by his lovely wife, Arlyn; and his siblings, Patricia Burns of Denver, CO, Timothy Gagnon of Denver, CO and Mark Gagnon of Kalispell, MT; and eight nieces and nephews.

Chuck's legacy of beautiful inspiring bronze sculptures will always speak of love, hope, and peace to present and future generations and we look forward to our continued work with Mrs. Gagnon to complete Chuck's last few sculptures completed in his studio.

- Jeffrey Spring

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

“......life long quest to bring people together, to achieve understanding.”

Image of the maquette for the monument to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Mr. Hayden

Sculptor - Frank Hayden    

Frank Hayden (1934-1988) shared these words during the unveiling of his ten-foot tall sculpture honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in August 1976. Hayden’s abstract egg shape with arms and hands revealed was met with mixed reactions. It was reported that many in attendance expected a life-size statue of Dr. King. Hayden explained “the shape represents life and growth, and the arms and hands are reaching out for brotherhood.” Inside the egg form are passages from Dr. King's speeches, and there is a bullet hole to commemorate Dr. King's assassination.

Bob Spring remembers several visits to meet with Frank at his studio, and working closely with him on a number of important monuments. "We would receive the plaster models at the foundry and make the negative molds and waxes. 
Frank would come to New York and retouch and approve the waxes. We would review the installation blueprints and confirm the details, to get things right the way Frank wanted them.” Bob remembers a memorial we cast remembering the shooting of two Southern University students that occurred in 1972, and recalls that right away Frank wanted to make a memorial. He created a few  sketches and a maquette and asked Mr. Spring to review and provide an estimate. Due to various delays, the memorial was not dedicated until 1979. Although this was a tragic event Frank created a symbolic, inspirational work titled "Lift Every Voice" to not only memorialize and honor but to encourage the idea of hope too.

In 1985 Frank Hayden became Southern University’s first distinguished professor. He had been at the Baton Rouge, Louisiana University’s art department since 1961 following his 1957 graduation from Xavier University in New Orleans, and a master in fine art degree from Notre Dame University where he studied with Ivan Mestrovic. Frank also traveled to Munich, Germany on a Fulbright Fellowship and attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Denmark

"It was incredibly difficult to receive the news of Frank's death. We had shared a number of working experiences and became friends too. I will never forget his hospitality during my visits to New Orleans and taking me to the Latin Quarter for the first time, where I had a huge platter of crawfish. His mentally ill son tragically shot him at the age of 52. I cannot help but believe we had many more years of working together and he had so much more to offer all of us. He was always a modest man but I can tell you that to know him, you would simply be inspired," says Mr. Spring.

-Excerpt from an extensive recorded conversation of Mr. Bob Spring and Patricia Bradshaw, 2012

-Written and edited by Jeffrey Spring

Please contact the Modern Art Foundry office with inquires about contracted services of Mr. Spring. He is available for consultations and lectures.


Monday, January 30, 2012

I Met Jacques Lipchitz When I Was Eight Years Old

                                           L to R- MAF employee, J. C. Spring, J. Lipchitz, J. Spring, property of MAF

The day that I met Jacques Lipchitz was a Saturday. My father had taken me to work that day and introduced me to Mr. Lipchitz, who smiled and said hello. My first memory was watching him work on a wax sculpture. He was wearing a beret and had a metal tool in his hand. When he touched this tool to the wax sculpture, smoke would rise and some of the wax would melt. Later on, I found out the tool was made of cast iron and came in many different sizes. When heated, it stayed hot for quite a while. He used this tool to retouch the wax pattern that my father’s foundry had made for him. It was fascinating to watch him work. I did not know then but in about fifteen or so years Jacques Lipchitz would become an important person in my life, helping me with many foundry skills and affording me an opportunity to grow as an artisan while working on his pieces.

I remember when the CBS show Let’s Take a Trip filmed an episode at Modern Art Foundry in 1957. I had a small part demonstrating how to pin a core nail hole closed and worked directly with Mr. Lipchitz on his patina for the sculpture Pierrot. A few years ago, we transferred the episode to DVD; I cannot believe how young we all looked.

Most importantly, Mr. Lipchitz was at the foundry when my father told me I was needed to take over the patina work. Mr. Lipchitz was casting a number of small pieces at this time. He was very patient with me because he knew the colors he wanted and how to achieve them. He would not settle for good. He wanted it to be right. This was a benefit for me because I learned how to color and to please a customer. It was about one year before I was comfortable. Eventually, Mr. Lipchitz would allow me to patina his bronzes without his supervision.

Mr. Lipchitz developed a work pattern that allowed him to spend half the year in the United States and half the year in Italy. He would send us a letter before returning to New York. The letter would tell us which plasters to retrieve from his studio in order to prepare waxes for his arrival in the warmer months. In addition, we would have bronzes ready for him from his last trip. It was an exciting time at Modern Art Foundry. Mr. Lipchitz once told me he loved returning to New York City each year. When the plane landed and he heard the announcement from the pilot welcoming them to New York, he'd say, "'there is like electricity in the air, I get charged up again. It is so, exciting and there is so much happening in NYC!'”

I said goodbye to Mr. Lipchitz for the last time in May 1973, 16 days before he died.  He was at the foundry one last time before leaving to go back to Italy. Oddly, about a week later I saw him on 2nd Avenue and 51st Street in Manhattan. I was waiting at a red light and across the busy street; I saw Mr. and Mrs. Lipchitz walking. Of course, he had his blue beret on but the light changed and I did not have a chance to wave hello.

A week or so later he died while on vacation at Capri’s Blue Grotto, his usual place for relaxation when returning to Italy by ship. He was buried in Jerusalem.

Jacques Lipchitz taught me many things. We had a business relationship and a friendship. I was very sad when he passed away. It was 33 years since our first meeting. I felt I had lost a friend, a teacher, and a second father.

MY LIFE INSIDE ART, Bob Spring's reflections on his fifty plus years of experiences in the art casting business, is being catalogued by Patricia Bradshaw.  Patricia is coordinating an on going collection process that includes interviews, journal writings, and recorded memories for publication in print, digital, and sound mediums. The above excerpt has been edited by Jeffrey Spring.