Willard Stone (Cherokee) b. 1915 - d. 1985
"Lady of Spring,"
Walnut, 27.5" x 5" x 5.5"
The Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa,
Willard Stone is the unsung hero of Native American
sculpture. Ever humble, he did not consider himself a fine artist, but rather
referred to himself as a craftsperson. His "whiftling," as he called his
carving, produced exquisite and elegant wood sculpture that were both modern
and decorative. Upon first viewing his work, one is impressed by the fact that
the subject matter and technique are not necessarily ethnic.
Stone worked in a style during the 1940s that would later be called
Art Deco. He was responsible for developing a singular style of sculpture
unique to Oklahoma and to Native American contemporary art. His artistic
approach reflected, Stone's time, region and lifestyle and was perfectly suited
"Lady of Spring" is one of the finest examples of Stone's work. It is
classic Art. Deco in the tradition of Ferdmand Preiss' "Spring Awakening" or
the famous Vargas nudes. Stone never totally abandons realism in his "Lady of
Spring" while incorporating abstraction into his organic female form. He uses
clean, flowing and sensuous lines. His smooth highly glossed finishes are
reminiscent of the shiny metals favored by the Art Deco style.
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