Small Sculptures from the Bradley Family Foundation Collection

November 29, 2011 - January 27, 2012

Small Sculptures from the Bradley Family Foundation Collection

Small sculptures from the collection by Barney Bright, Mary Callery, Émile Gilioli, Milton Hebald, Sergio Lanzavecchia and James Rosati, and a pastel by Hans Hartung.

Peg and Harry Bradley began collecting monumental sculpture in 1962 with the purchase of Gerhard Marcks’s The Bremen Town Musicians (1951). In the decade prior to that, the Bradleys had been acquiring small sculptures, as well as paintings and works on paper, and Peg Bradley continued to collect small sculpture after she began to actively seek large works for Lynden.

The eight works in this exhibition give us some insight into Peg Bradley’s interests and collecting habits. She bought from galleries with whom she had long-standing relationships—M. Knoedler, Fine Arts Associates, Galerie Louis Carré--and it is likely that she purchased particular pieces after she saw them in exhibitions on 57th Street or in the 8th arrondissement. Most of the work was new, and made by often peripatetic 20th-century European and American artists (Mary Callery and Milton Hebald left the United States for Paris and Rome, respectively; Hans Hartung made his way to Paris after completing his art studies in Germany). As this small sample shows, Peg Bradley collected both figurative and abstract works (sometimes both from the same artist) and was broad-minded about materials; in addition to these sculptures, other works in the collection are made of various metals, stone, glass and plexiglass.

About the Sculpture
James Rosati is represented in the outdoor collection by his untitled Corten steel sculpture of 1975/1976. Leda was purchased nearly 20 years earlier, in 1958, from Fine Arts Associates in New York. The piece was part of a group exhibition at the gallery in May, and was featured in the photograph that accompanied the review in The New York Times. The exhibition included several artists, both sculptors and painters, whose work Mrs. Bradley collected.

Mrs. Bradley purchased Gilioli’s The Vase of Flowers from the Galerie Louis Carré in
Paris in 1959. This was a gallery that Mrs. Bradley had patronized previously, buying three paintings by Marcel Gromaire early in 1952. In 1961 she returned to purchase a second work by Gilioli, Le Petit Glacier. Four additional Gilioli works may be found in the Bradley Collection at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

By 1965, when Mrs. Bradley purchased The Budding Crisis in Rome, she had acquired large-scale works by Aldo Calo, Henry Moore and George Rickey. She came across Sergio Lanzavecchia, a joiner and self-taught “scrap iron wizard,” early in his career—he had just begun showing his sculpture in 1962—and she bought a second work, The Garden, on the same visit. This work is now in the Bradley Collection at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Hebald’s Scooter was acquired in Rome in 1966. Hebald, who was born in New York City, travelled to Italy in 1955 on a Prix de Rome fellowship and didn’t return until 2004. He is known for his figurative works and for many public commissions, including the 220-foot Zodiac Screen (1961), a series of twelve monumental bas-relief representations of the Zodiac on what was then the Pan American World Airways terminal at Idlewild (now Kennedy) Airport.

Barney Bright’s Sara, originally part of the outdoor sculpture collection, was purchased from the Naples Art Gallery in Florida in 1968. It moved indoors when the house was renovated in 2009-2010.

Peg Bradley began collecting Mary Callery’s small sculptures in 1961. Callery is one of several female sculptors in the collection—Barbara Hepworth, Linda Howard, Marta Pan and Beverly Pepper all have works on the grounds. In March/April 1961, the Knoedler gallery in New York produced Symbols, an exhibition of Callery works; it included Composition, The Letter S. Christian Zervos, writing in the catalogue and making an argument for Callery as an artist equally in thrall to “reality, sign and technique,” noted that “For Callery the sign has the same power as a living model of creating tension in the depths of the unconscious, of provoking unexpected stimulations, of containing a host of formal combinations.” Half a year later, Mrs. Bradley returned to Knoedler to purchase an earlier figurative work, Two Sailors. Knoedler had another show of recent Callery sculpture, covering the years 1961-1964, in early 1965. Here one could see the letters E, H, J, P and two versions of Z. The following year Mrs. Bradley purchased Alphabet Letter J, No. 2 (1962).

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