Butler Acquires Monumental Sculptures – Portraits Pay Homage to Historic Subjects


The Butler Institute of American Art has added two monumental sculptures by renowned American artists, Audrey Flack and John Wilson, to the museum’s permanent collection.

Flack’s 10-foot high plaster sculpture is an homage to Queen Catherine of Braganza, and is part of a series of sculptures by the artist based upon that theme. (The borough of Queens, NY, was named for the Portuguese-born monarch who later became Queen of England after her marriage to Charles II in 1620.)

The plaster statue features a steel and reinforced steel armature, and is presented standing on a half-dome base. An unusual element of Flack’s sculpture is an LED lighted globe that the subject holds in her left hand.

This plaster work was the prototype for a 13-foot bronze sculpture—a commission awarded to the artist by Lisbon, Portugal. The sculpture was a gift to the Butler by the artist, and is installed in the Beecher Center’s Novak Gallery, Youngstown.

Wilson’s subject is a bronze portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The maquette is number four of twelve editioned works of this subject by Wilson (1922-2015), who is best-known for his powerful portraits of African American men. The work is installed in Butler’s second floor galleries in Youngstown.

This bronze sculpture is among the many works that Wilson created of King—one of the most famous and revered black leaders of the 20th century. The three dimensional portrait was created by Wilson in 1982 as a maquette (prototype) for an eight-foot bronze sculpture of the same subject that was installed in October 1983, in Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Buffalo, NY. The work was acquired by the Butler through the Draime Permanent Collection Fund.

A number of other important American works have recently entered the Butler’s collection, including those by William Gropper, Sherrie McGraw, William Wegman, Jack Tworkov, David Hume Kennerly and Dale Nichols.