KU Alumnus and Father of Furniture Art Movement Donates Sculpture to Spencer Museum
Lawrence, KS, May 17, 2013 – This week, while visiting Lawrence to accept an Honorary Doctor of the Arts degree from the University of Kansas, Wendell Castle bestowed an honor of his own on the University, announcing his intention to donate a work of art to the Spencer Museum’s permanent collection. Nirvana, Castle’s gift to the Museum, is expected to arrive in Lawrence within the next year. The third in a series of eight Nirvana chairs, it is a deep azure sculptural chair with smooth, rounded features made of polychromed fiberglass. Castle is widely acknowledged to be the leading figure in the American studio furniture movement of the 1960s and '70s and he continues to be an innovator in the field. His works have been collected by such major institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smithsonian Institution, as well as the Spencer Museum of Art.
Castle graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in industrial design, and a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture. “We are delighted by the gift of this beautiful work by Wendell Castle, an American Master. The choice of Nirvana represents his astonishing recent work and demonstrates his ever-expanding creative imagination and skill,” says Saralyn Reece Hardy, director of the Spencer Museum of Art. “Castle is one of KU's most distinguished alumni. We are grateful and so eager to share the work with students and the public.”
Four works of art by Castle from the Spencer’s permanent collection are currently on view in the Museum’s 20/21 Gallery. They will remain on view through July 28, 2013. In a video now viewable on the Spencer’s website, Castle explains to Saralyn Reece Hardy the significance of his education at the University of Kansas to his development as an artist. Wendell Castle will receive an Honorary Doctor of the Arts degree from the University of Kansas during the 2013 Commencement ceremony, 10:30 AM-12:30 PM at KU’s Memorial Stadium.