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 Gladys Caldwell  (1907 - 1952)

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Lived/Active: Colorado/New York      Known for: abstract animal and figure sculpture

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
model of Boulder Dam (Hoover Dam)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Loveland, Colorado, Gladys Fisher settled in Denver with her family when she was age eleven, and from there established herself as a well-known sculptress, especially of animal subjects although she did portrait busts as well.

She preferred working in hard stone and hard woods, and spent much time observing animals in their natural habitat. Two of her Rocky Mountain sheep sculptures, installed in 1936 at the main Denver post office, each weighted ten tons and were carved from limestone. These sculptures were the result of her winning a federal competition to produce sculpture decorations for the Denver Post Office, and to get started with the commission, she spent time in Yellowstone observing sheep in their natural habitat. She later reported that one of the biggest thrills of that experience was witnessing, through a telescope, the birth of twin sheep.

She also modeled a pair of grizzly bear cubs for the Yellowstone Park post office at Mammoth Hot Springs, a federal commission that she completed in 1941. However, these bear cub depictions were controversial because they were slightly abstracted, influenced by her study with Alexander Archipenko, and people complained that they did not look like real bears. Other subjects of her work included bobcats, fawns and burros.

Fisher had interest in sculpture from the time she was a child. In Denver, she attended Manual and East High Schools and, with the encouragement of local professional artists, enrolled in the Beaux Arts Atelier of Denver (1922-1925). In 1926, the Denver Allied Arts organization awarded her a scholarship that she used to study at the American School of Architecture in New York with Alexander Archipenko.

Then she spent the summer of 1917 in sculpture and ceramic classes in Woodstock, New York. A subsequent scholarship from the Allied Arts Association led to her studying in Paris with Antoine Bourdelle at the Ecole de la Grande Chaumiere. From 1927 to 1929, she studied with Jose DeCreeft, Aristide Maillol, and George Hilbert.

Returning to the US in 1929, Fisher did freelance work in New York, and in 1932, returned to Denver. Four years later she married Alan Berney Fisher, who was an architect, and while raising a family and continuing her own art creativity, she was an art teacher at Denver University and the Denver Art Museum.

Fisher exhibited widely including the Paris Salon, Society of Independent Artists, the Denver Art Museum, Colorado Fine Arts Center, and the Syracuse, New York Museum of Fine Arts.

The artist died on April 18, 1952 in Denver, Colorado.

"An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West" by Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick
Peter Hassrick, "Drawn to Yellowstone"

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