Albert Stewart

Theme/Style – Modernism, figurative art, animals

Media – Sculptures, oils, drawings

Artistic Focus – A revered American sculptor as well as a beloved teacher and active member of the Southern California art community, Albert Stewart was described by a colleague as “always happiest when he had a chisel in his hand or a ball of clay.”  The recipient of more than 50 major architectural commissions, Stewart created works that reflected his interest in the disciplined sculpture of Egypt, early Greece, and the Romanesque period while still being unmistakably Modernist – a vital part of the time and place in which they were created.

Career Highlights –

• Born in Kensington, England in 1900, Albert Theodore Stewart was living in New York City by the 1920s, where he studied at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, the Art Students League, and with Paul Manship.
• While still in his 20s, Stewart exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1927, winning a gold medal; opened his own sculpture exhibition in his New York studio; and exhibited his polar bear sculpture Silver King in the National Sculpture Society's 1929 All-American Exhibition of Contemporary Sculpture at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, in the company of Robert Aitken, Alexander Stirling Calder, Jacques Schnier, Peterpaul Ott, and others.
• Stewart again exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1931, and later at New York's Ferargil Galleries and in a solo show at Arden Gallery, where he exhibited small bronzes, garden and architectural sculpture, and drawings of animals.
• Stewart moved to California in 1939 to join the faculty at Scripps College in Claremont, a position he was to hold for nearly the rest of his life.
• Stewart exhibited in California at San Francisco's 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, the Los Angeles County Fair in 1940 and 1949, and the Pasadena Art Institute in 1948 (winning a First Prize). In 1955 his sculpture Crucifixion was included in an exhibition as part of the Bishop Kip-Fort Miller Centennial celebration at St. James' Episcopal Cathedral in Fresno. Among the other artists exhibited were Margaret Bruton, Beniamino Bufano, Ruth Cravath, Francis de Erdely, Lucien Labaudt, Rico Lebrun, Jacques Schnier, and Millard Sheets.
• Stewart's work was included in the 1940 exhibition “Drawings by Contemporary American Sculptors” at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, MD, along with the work of Alexander Archipenko, Alexander Calder, Chaim Gross, Gaston Lachaise, Paul Manship, Mahonri Young, William Zorach, and others.
• From the 1930s onward Stewart executed a large number of commissioned public statues, bas-reliefs, and sculptured friezes. Many were at sites in and around Los Angeles, including the County Courthouse (which also included reliefs by Donal Hord), the Life Sciences Building at UCLA, the Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial, the Scottish Rite Temple, the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Scripps College in Claremont, numerous banks and churches, as well as at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, where in 1958 Stewart's bronze statue of the racehorse “Swaps” and his jockey Willie Shoemaker was unveiled. In Northern California Stewart executed works for the San Francisco Mint and the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley.
• Outside of California, Stewart's public sculptural work was commissioned in many cities across the U.S., including a 27-foot-high heroic female figure for the 1939 New York World's Fair and a sundial in the city's Central Park; as well as in St. Paul, Washington D.C., Chicago, Kansas City, and Dallas; and in Europe Stewart's works are at the American Battle Monument in Thiaucourt, France and the Refugee Memorial in Gouda, the Netherlands. Stewart also carved the mahogany legs for the White House piano under President Franklin Roosevelt in 1938, as well as designing a radiator cap for the Packard Automobile Company.
• In the late 1940s, with little or no construction experience, Stewart built his own home and studio in the Claremont, California area. Henry Lee McFee, who was then a professor of painting at Scripps College, helped choose the interior and exterior colors.
• In 1963, two years before his passing in Claremont, a major Albert Stewart retrospective exhibition was held at Lang Art Building at Scripps College, including sculptures in wood and plaster, as well as drawings. In 1973 Chaffey Community College in Rancho Cucamonga, California paid a posthumous tribute to Stewart with a retrospective exhibition of 20 of his sculptural works.