By a stroke of good luck (and with a little help from the all pervasive social network, Facebook) I was introduced to the celebrated sculptor Sabin Howard. Needless to say a studio visit was in order to see some of Howard’s masterworks in person (an absolute must for sculpture), and yes, the visit was just how I imagined it would be to visit a Michelangelo or da Vinci!
There is no doubt that Howard’s work owes much to history, but like the work of the great masters that have come before him, his work also speaks to the present with a freshness that pushes well beyond mere imitation of the past.
Howard’s sculpture is firmly rooted in the figurative—these are hugely physical works after all, and very much in the grand academic tradition—but it is the suggestion of the spirit, of an ineffable beyond that immediately strikes one. In fact, this has very much been the gauge of great sculpture, and so it doesn’t surprise us that he’s been likened to major artists like Donatello and Rodin.
Despite his rebellious nature as a teenager, Howard tells us, he could not resist the allure of art—sensing the immense grandeur, grace and nobility in it—a world that aspired to the sacred, exemplifying man at his best. As the story goes, it took a while for inspiration to spark action, (and perhaps it was a rather unpleasant job as a cabinet maker in South Philly that helped to create that aha! moment), but he eventually did call his father to announce that he wanted to go to art school. His father, not entirely convinced, wanted to know how long this phase would last! Astoundingly without a proper portfolio in hand, he set himself to ninety days of intensive drawing, and upon presentation of these drawings, he gained entrance to the world renowned Philadelphia College of Art.
After twenty years of working in academia, Howard credits his wife for providing the initiative to make a living from his personal art—and thankfully so! His work is now sought after by countless collectors and museums. What an inspirational journey, reminding us all to pursue our passions in life and to never settle for little fantasies.Do acquire his book The Art of Life for an in depth treatment of the figurative tradition and its relevance in the art world today.
Howard is currently working on a monumental Apollo—we can’t wait to see.
Elated to be in the presence of such brilliance at Sabin Howard’s studio, I’m sporting a Tom Ford royal and white mulberry silk glen plaid jacket, pale blue cotton shirt with contrast white collar and French cuffs and golden silk knit tie, Charvet Paris yellow and white silk retro print pocket square, pearl and pale blue sapphire cuff links, Paul Smith pale grey light weight wool pant, Gucci navy leather slip on shoes, Ralph Lauren navy leather D ring belt and my fragrance is Creed Original Cologne.