LeQuire Gallery is pleased to offer portraiture in the form of portrait sculpture.
Most people think of a portrait sculpture as a straight-forward bust of the head, or at most, a head and shoulders, but portrait sculpture can in fact be anything: a portrait from the waist up, a full-figure portrait, life-size or any other scale from miniature to monumental. Portrait sculpture can even be a relief, somewhere between two and three dimensions. The variety of materials and styles can make an interior space more exciting because sculpture brings art out into the space in which we live (even outdoors) instead of limiting art to the walls.
There are two main points that separate portrait sculpture from portrait painting: one is the permanence of the sculpture; the other is the ability sculpture has to capture the physical presence of a person. Sculpture can last ten times as long as a painting especially if it is cast in a permanent material such as bronze, and a portrait sculpture is going to offer an imposing physical presence in a room – nearly the same effect a live person has.
The portrait sculpture of Alan LeQuire adorn the walls of institutions like Vanderbilt University, and the Country Music Hall of Fame, as well as private collections around the world. Author, Madison Bell describes LeQuire as a “strikingly accurate and extremely popular portrait artist. His portrait heads combine the energy, expressiveness and apparent mobility of a quick sketch with the permanence of bronze.”
LeQuire explains that capturing a likeness and the physical presence or energy of his model is still supreme, but because he sculpts in clay, there is always the opportunity to explore texture and new ways of handling the material. For a sculptor, the manipulation of the clay has the same importance as the painter’s brush stroke – it becomes their signature.
Included in the many portraits to date are busts of the British Poet, Donald Davie, Chancellor Harvey Branscomb of Vanderbilt University and Chancellor Ike Robinson of the University of Oklahoma. Portraits busts of doctors Rollo Park, John Shapiro and Sidney Colowick are on display at Vanderbilt Medical Center and a portrait bust of Jack Massey resides at the Massey School of Business at Belmont University.
A larger-than-life standing figure portrait of Dr. Thomas Frist, Sr. with two small children can be found at Skyline Medical Center in Nashville as well as Bayonet Point Medical Center in Naples, Florida. Life-size standing portraits have also been done of Sam Davis at Montgomery Bell Academy, Jack Daniel at the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, TN and Timothy Demonbreun at Nashville’s Riverfront Park. Also of interest are LeQuire’s oversized portrait heads of cultural icons Bessie Smith, Josh White, Leadbelly, Paul Robeson, Billie Holiday, Marian Anderson and Woody Guthrie
LeQuire has long understood the lack of women represented in public sculpture (of the estimated 5,193 public statues depicting historic figures on display on street corners and parks throughout the United States, only 394 of these monuments are of women – Smithsonian Magazine). He has tried to correct this oversight throughout his career advocating portraits of women when possible. Great examples are his portraits of aviator, Cornelia Fort, the first U.S. pilot to see Japanese planes approaching Pearl Harbor, and “Mother Tate”. His colossal-scale portraits of Bessie Smith and Marian Anderson are not only commanding, but mesmerizing.
Recently LeQuire has made considerably more contributions to the monuments of women, especially in the area of Suffrage, having completed life-size portraits of Elizabeth Avery Meriwether, Lizzie Crozier French, Anne Dallas Dudley, J. Frankie Pierce, Sue Shelton White, Abby Crawford Milton and Carrie Chapman Catt. A suffrage monument commission for Memphis (unveiling in 2019) promises nine more portraits of women.
Portraits by Alan LeQuire are contemporary sculptures first, having mastered medium, composition and style through years of training. They afford the viewer a treasured likeness that is also an original work of art.
Portrait Sculptures by Alan LeQuire use the “clay to bronze” process.
Few people realize that creating a sculpture (portrait or otherwise) in clay is only about twenty percent of the time and labor involved in producing a finished bronze casting. The process, known as The Lost Wax Method, has been around for over ten thousand years, and the technology has not changed very much in all that time.
The entire process involves five major steps: 1. the clay original; 2. the rubber mold; 3. The hollow wax casting; 4. The shell mold; 5. The bronze casting. The details of each step could fill a book.
Bronze casting and finishing is a fine craft that requires years of training and experience. LeQuire’s goal is to create bronzes with even more warmth and life than the original clay sculpture. To that end he makes his own rubber molds and wax castings. These are taken to the foundry where they make the shell mold and give back a rough casting. LeQuire then completes the final surface work and patina.
Commissioned portrait sculptures can take 6-12 months to complete depending on medium, size of portrait and available space in the artist’s schedule.
Portraits are available miniature to monumental in either clay or bronze. Sculpting from life is best and typically requires 3-5 sittings. Portraits can also be done with photographs if need be.
Prices vary depending on medium and scale. Please contact the gallery for more information.