harry m leippe

Various times, places and experiences contributed to the evolution of the images found in these bronze sculptures.

Many images are from my experience in the US Navy during World War II in the Pacific. A few days after Japan surrendered on 2 September 1945 I was allowed to visit the Tokyo Imperial Palace and witness the ruins of the moat, bridges, walls and palace remaining after that devastating air raid on 25 May 1945. Other images are found in my diary including contemporary drawings and sketches of the complex profiles of Japanese battleships.

In 1960 after receiving the first MA in sculpture granted by UC Berkeley I won a merit based year long Fulbright grant. The host country was Italy. My project for study and research was the traditional cire perdue bronze casting process at Fonderia Artistica Marinelli.

The Fulbright Commission provided assistance in planning appropriate travels designed to enhance the program’s educational and cultural exchange goals. These several trips continue to be the inspiration for many images. 1) The evolution of the French Gothic flying buttress from Caen to Paris. 2) Greek Doric temples around the coast of Sicily and at Paestum. 3) The towers of San Marino, San Gimignano, and the ancient walls of Perugia. 4) The Chapel of St Michael in Le Puy, France. 5) Roman ruins through out Europe from Carcassone to Carnuntum.

Puebloan archaeological sites in the American Southwest are a continual source of ideas. These include Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde and Taos Pueblo.

The temperamental cire perdue process is used to create my bronze sculptures. Foundry equipment, waxes, mold slurry, tools, metal alloys, and various mishaps all contribute to the final image.

During these trips I created thousands of 35mm color slides which were used for many years while teaching art at UC Berkeley and New Mexico Highlands University.

After returning to UC Berkeley in 1962 I designed and constructed the first bronze foundry used in an American university sculpture class. A year later at New Mexico Highlands University I built the first foundry used in any university sculpture class in New Mexico.

None of these bronze sculptures is an attempt to create recognizable images of any of these structures. These images are from airy nothings, a synthesis of ideas, feelings and memories which appear while ruminating on the people who lived and died here long ago, as well as thoughts about the rise and fall of civilizations.

These sculptures were cast by Madd Castings, Inc. in Colorado USA and by the foundry at New Mexico Highlands University.

Some of my sculptures are on display at this gallery:
2 Ten: A Galeria Of Art & Treasures
210 on the Plaza
Las Vegas, NM 87701
(505) 652-0113
https://www.facebook.com/2tenplaza/

NAVAJO BORDER SERIES
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  • NEAR HESPERUS MOUNTAIN
    — 10″ high x 14″ x 9″ – 38 lbs
    — To the ancient Dine (Navajo) this mountain is the northern border of their territory.
  • BLUE BEAD MOUNTAIN
    — 10″ high x 11″ x 11″ – 30 lbs
    — This mountain is the southern border.
  • NEAR MOUNT BLANCA
    — 12″ high x 11″ x 7″ – 38 lbs
    — This mountain is the eastern border.
  • NEAR SAN FRANCISCO PEAKS
    — 22″ high 11″ x 7″ – 44 lbs
    — These mountains are the western border.

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  • ANASAZI REFUGE
    — 15″ high x 17″ x 7″ – 46 lbs
    — A safe place.
  • SANCTUARY ALONG THE GREAT NORTH ROAD
    — 15″ high x 17″ x 7″ – 46 lbs
    — The Great North Road was part of the Chaco Canyon transportation network of the Anasazi.

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  • LAMASSU
    — 9″ high x 15″ x 8″ – 24 lbs
    — A palace guardian.