John De Andrea (b.1941)
One of the top 20th century sculptors in the field of photorealism, (hyperrealism, superrealism) and Pop Art, the American artist John De Andrea - like his older compatriot Duane Hanson (1925-96) - is famous for his human figures, all typically cast from life and realistic down to the last detail, except that De Andrea specializes in female nudes. He is also associated with the Verism School of Art. Influenced by Classical Greek figures, De Andrea's best known sculpture includes: Couple (1971, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris); Artist and Model (1976, Denver Art Museum); Model in Repose (1981, National Gallery of Modern Art Edinburgh); and Linda (1983, Denver Art Museum). He is one of the most popular of contemporary American sculptors. Other artists who helped to popularize the photorealist movement in America, include: the scene painter Richard Estes (1932) and the portraitist Chuck Close (b.1940).
EVOLUTION OF SCULPTURE
MODERN PLASTIC ARTISTS
Usually the viewer's first reaction to
De Andreas work is shock at seeing a naked person in the decorous
space of museum or gallery. However, there is more to De Andrea's sculptures
than superficial shock tactics. The fact that he casts his models direct
from life ensures that every stretch mark, flaw and birthmark is recorded
in the plastic and paint. His models are not idealized art but instead
reflect the antique traditions of Greek
sculpture in their classical poses. In Brunette Sitting on Table
(1973, Hoffman collection, Chicago), a young woman sits casually on the
edge of a table, dangling her feet, her hands crossed carelessly in front
of her. Her unconcerned attitude separates her from the viewer, transforming
her from a real person into an object to examine. In Artist and Model
(1976, Denver Art Museum), the artist is standing, his clothes and
hands are covered in plaster. He stares at a seated figure of a nude woman
who is half-encased in plaster. This scene layers illusion on illusion
and plays on the age-old myth of Pygmalion, in which an artist dreams
that his sculpture of the ideal woman comes alive.
Works and Collections
De Andrea's work is represented in some of the best art museums across America. The Denver Art Museum has two of his sculptures, Linda (1983) and Clothed Artist and Model. Linda however is only ever on view for short periods of time, as she is made of polyvinyl, a kind of plastic that breaks down chemically over time, which requires her to spend most of her time off view in a controlled environment. Other museums with works by De Andrea include:
- Bayly Art Museum, University of Virginia,
John De Andrea continues to live and work in Denver, Colorado.
For more about the history and styles
of plastic art, see: Art Encyclopedia.