Thanks to a just-published book, excellent photographs of the California condor sculptures created in the 1970s by Erwin Hauer are now available.
Hauer created 8 life-size sculptures of California condors in different postures.
Still Facing Infinity: Sculpture by Erwin Hauer (Images Publishing) includes 7 pages of photos of these remarkable works.
In addition to photos showing the birds en masse, there are numerous photos of the individual sculptures:
Here are excerpts from the text by the artist:
Project California Condor was my personal initiative and contribution, carried out between 1978 and 1984. It was intended to educate, and advocate the preservation of this endangered species, which was then at the brink of extinction….
I myself have never seen a California condor, but I studied the Andean condor in depth at the zoo in Mexico City…. For stylistic reasons, I took some liberties with details of the wings.
These sculptures were exhibited … in more than thirty locations [including] the Smithsonian Institution …
Rounding out the book’s presentation of the condor sculptures is a series of the artist’s working drawings, including this one:
Those who are fascinated by the California condor and sculpture will want to see Still Facing Infinity.
I have found several records of the publicity that Hauer’s condor sculptures received when they were first exhibited.
The Winter 1981-1982 issue of National Sculpture Review includes a mention. Here’s the entire text:
And here’s the accompanying photo:
The New York Times for 15 February 1981 includes “Condors in Sculpture”, announcing the exhibition in New Haven, Connecticut:
There could be a time quite soon when the California condor will be visible only in representational form, such as the sculptures of Erwin Hauer …
Mr. Hauer, a member of the sculpture faculty at Yale University, has been quoted as saying of his work, “I don’t know if this Project California condor is a requiem or an act of advocacy.”
To express the artist’s fascination with the aerodynamics of condor flight, the seven birds … will be displayed on revolving pedestals …
This text is accompanied by a photo of the sculptures.
The New York Times carried announcements of additional exhibitions in the issues dated 13 September 1981 and 22 November 1981. More than a decade later, on 10 July 1994, the newspaper announced another exhibition.
A 2004 book Erwin Hauer: Continua–Architectural Screen Walls (Princeton Architectural Press) includes 4 small photos of the California condor sculptures.
In Still Facing Infinity, Hauer notes that his condor sculptures “can be reproduced in bronze on demand.” It would be wonderful if the originals or reproductions could find a permanent home where many could contemplate them.
Artists care and their art matters.