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collections > permanent collection > sculpture > MILTON ELTING HEBALD
Milton Elting Hebald
(American, b. 1917)
James Joyce Monument Study, 1964
Bronze, 17” x 9 1/2” x 7 1/4”
Gift of the Frank and Margaret Sullivan Fund (74.001)

Milton Hebald’s James Joyce Monument Study is related to the life-size sculpture that presides over Joyce’s grave in Zurich, Switzerland.  Both the large monument and the study were commissioned by Hebald’s dealer, Lee Nordness, who shared the sculptor’s love of the Irish novelist.  Working from photographs and other source material, Hebald created an impressionistic likeness that combines Joyce’s personal mannerisms with an aura of thoughtful contemplation.  At the same time, however, the figure is not static, for in the tradition of French sculptor Auguste Rodin, Hebald animates his composition through the lively modeling of surfaces.  The study, made in 1964, was cast in an edition of twelve, while the monument itself was cast two years later in an edition of six. 

A native of New York City, Hebald studied art from a young age.  Among the schools he attended were the School Art League, the Art Students League of New York, the National Academy of Design, and the Beaux-Arts Institute.  At the age of 20, Hebald held his first one-person show at the American Artists Congress Gallery.  The sculptor was also active in the WPA, and was an art instructor in New York and elsewhere.  In 1955, he won the Prix-de-Rome, enabling him to further his work in Rome under the auspice of the American Academy.  Remaining in Rome for much of his subsequent career, Hebald created numerous works of art for public spaces in New York.  Among these, the gigantic Zodiac Screen for the Pan-American Airways terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport was perhaps the best known (the work is currently in storage).  In 2004, Hebald returned to the United States.  Now in his 90s, he continues to work from his studio in Los Angeles.