Jose de Creeft
Jose de Creeft was born in Guadalajara, Spain, in 1884. His family moved to Barcelona soon after he was born. When de Creeft was 13 years old he was apprenticed to a wood carver who worked in the local churches. This experience cemented de Creeft’s decision to become an artist. In 1905, he moved to Paris and, following the advice of Auguste Rodin, entered the Academie Julian. His studio in Paris was adjacent to those of Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris. In 1929 de Creeft immigrated to the United States and, in 1932, began teaching, first at the New School for Social Research and then at the Art Students League. Over the years de Creeft perfected his technique in a wide variety of materials including marble, wood and terra cotta. Perhaps more than any other artist, he is given credit for reviving in the United States an appreciation for the direct sculpture method. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Academy of Design, the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the Sculptors Guild. In 1960, de Creeft had his first retrospective exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The exhibit later traveled to museums, universities and galleries throughout the United States. De Creeft had more than 37 one-man exhibits of his sculpture and his works are in many collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Alice in Wonderland in Central Park, NYC. Although known for his sculpture, de Creeft thoroughly enjoyed the craft of painting and drawing specifically because it allowed him the most rapid documentation of his thoughts. It provided a means of expressing that which was too laborious to carve.