Historic, but not famous

Mark di Suervo, artist, Socrates Sculpture Park

Marco Polo “Mark” di Suvero (born September 18, 1933) is an abstract expressionist sculptor and 2010 National Medal of Arts recipient. He was born in China, but his family moved to the United States at the beginning of World War II. He went to San Francisco City College and the University of California Santa Barbara, where he studied art and learned sculpture making after leaving his philosophy major behind. He eventually graduated from UC Berkley which a degree in philosophy, but concentrated on sculpture.

After graduating from college, di Suvero moved to New York City in 1957 to pursue a sculpting art career. He worked part-time in construction and began to incorporate wood and metal from demolition sites into his work. Shortly before his first solo exhibition at Green Gallery, di Suvero was involved in a near-fatal elevator accident on March 26, 1960, while working at a construction site. He suffered spinal injuries and doctors feared he would not walk again. It was during this time that he learned to use an arc welder, which had become very important in his work. It took 4 years, but he was able to walk without assistance and begin his work again in ernest.

He left the United States during the Vietnam war but returned and established studios in California and New York City. In 1986, he established the Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City,  Queens. The park still functions today as a place for artists to bring large format sculpture to the public. It was put on an abandoned landfill and illegal dumpsite and the four acre site is the largest outdoor space in New York City dedicated to exhibiting sculpture.

For more information on the Sculpture Park, visit Socrates Sculpture Park dot org.

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Historic, but not famous

Ida Rauh, suffragist, actress, sculpture, poet

Ida Rauh (March 7, 1877 – February 28, 1970) was a lawyer, suffragist, actress, sculptor, and poet who helped found the Provincetown Players in 1915. The group originally performed in Provincetown, RI, but moved to MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village. She directed the first production of O’Neill’s one-act play “Where the Cross Is Made”, and in the Village she became known for her intensely emotional acting.

Ms. Rauh graduated from New York University Law School in 1902, but had little hope of practicing law as the profession did not allow women to present cases. She moved her interest to Union organization and helped with the first strike of the “shirtwaist” makers in the Village in 1909 and also became involved in the suffrage movement. She married writer and editor Max Eastman in New York in 1911 (divorced in 1922), but kept her own name, something considered very scandalous at that time. Eastman credited her with introducing him to socialism. During her years in Greenwich Village, Rauh supported a variety of feminist causes, among them Margaret Sanger’s campaigns. She was arrested in 1916 for distributing birth-control information and  charged with obscenity. She received a suspended sentence.

Rauh left the theater in 1920 to pursue sculpture, painting, and other interests. Her accumulated work includes writing, sculpture, painting and scripts. She died in New Mexico a couple months after her son.

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Historic, but not famous

Malvina Cornell Hoffman, sculptor

By Malvina Hoffman - Detroit Institute of Arts, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55623423Malvina Cornell Hoffman (June 15, 1885 – July 10, 1966) was an American sculptor and author, well known for her life-size bronze sculptures of people. She also worked in plaster and marble. Hoffman created portrait busts of working-class people and significant individuals. She was particularly known for her sculptures of dancers, such as Anna Pavlova. She often cast her own work and wrote a book “Sculpture Inside and Out” on the technique of casting in bronze.

She was born in NYC and named after an aunt who survived the sinking of the Titanic. Ms. Hoffman studied under many painters and sculptures and even traveled to Europe for her work. She was inspired by ballet dancers and the movement. Eventually she worked and studied with Rodin. She worked on many sculptures found in the United States and Europe. Hoffman was commissioned by the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, to create anthropologically accurate sculptures of peoples of diverse nationalities and races. She traveled around the world — including distant places like Africa, India, and Bali — in 1931 to 1932, creating busts and figures of people and taking more than 2,000 photographs. She completed more than 105 sculptures, predominantly in bronze, but also in marble and stone. The installation was on display from 1933 – 1969. Some still remain in the museum.

Ms. Hoffman worked out of a studio in Sniffen Court in Manhattan until her death in 1966. The Sniffen Court Historic District, located off of East 36th Street between Third and Lexington Avenues in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, was created in 1966, and consists of 10 two-story brick stables built in 1863-1864 in the early Romanesque Revival style, which were converted into residences and studios in the 1920s.

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Historic, but not famous

Philip H. Martiny, sculptor

Philip H. Martiny (Alsace, 19 May 1858 – 1927) was a Franco-American sculptor who worked in the Paris atelier of Eugene Dock, where he became foreman before emigrating to New York in 1878—to avoid being drafted into the French army.

In the US he often worked in cooperation with architects in Beaux-Arts architecture. He had a sculpture studio in McDougal Alley, a former mews behind Washington Square Park. Much of his work is in New York City, though he provided bas-reliefs for the Art Institute of Chicago and for government buildings in Washington, DC.

Though he was a member of the National Sculpture Society, Philip Martiny was not considered by his contemporaries as a sculptor of the first rank. When he received the job of completing the designs for the New York City Hall of Records (later the Surrogate’s Court) after the death of the architect, many architects raised serious objections. He was associated with Tammany Hall who assigned him the project. The New York Art Commission had authority to accept or reject sculpture by Martiny for the building. Daniel Chester French, one of the most prolific and acclaimed American sculptors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, best known for his design of the monumental work, the statue of Abraham Lincoln (1920) in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC was called in to approve the Martiny sculptures. Martiny finished the work in 1907.

After World War I, Martiny received two commissions for colossal figures commemorating the fallen soldiers: the Chelsea Park Memorial, at 28th Street and 9th Avenue and the memorial in Abingdon Square Park, where 8th Avenue begins.

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