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 Lorenzo E. Ghiglieri  (1931 - )

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Lived/Active: Oregon/California      Known for: Sculpture-figure, marine, frontier painting, illustration

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Ad Code: 3
Lorenzo Ghiglieri
from Auction House Records.
Casey's Gold II, 1982
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Contemporary Oregon painter and sculptor Lorenzo Ghiglieri was born in Los Angeles, California, on November 25, 1931. Ghiglieri's paintings are typically in oil, often of heroic size, perhaps in proportion to his own six-foot five height, and his precise sculptures in bronze, again of large stature, are sometimes over 30 feet tall.

Influenced by his Italian sculptor father, Angelo, and his French pianist and vocalist mother, Frieda, Lorenzoi Ghiglieri grew up in a world of ethnic blends that was to enrich his art. Both of his grandfathers were artists, one a sculptor and the other a musician-conductor. He began his life living on the fringe of a ghetto, an urban melting pot, and to this he attributes his interest in connecting with other people and their ways of life, including Eskimos and Indians of the Northwest. As a child, he carved in soap, modeled clay, and often watched his father make the stone chips fly. That he would become an artist seemed fated, and Ghiglieri responded to the artistic family environment in which he grew up.

At age seventeen, he won an award from the Los Angeles Art Directors Club providing a scholarship to the Los Angeles Trade Tech Junior College. With the training he received there, he solidified his move into the visual arts.

The Korean War and naval service interrupted his art education, but, after serving a year on a destroyer, he was assigned to the Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Fleet, in Norfolk, Virginia, where he served as staff illustrator and naval painter. During this tour came a commission for a marine painting of the cruiser, U.S.S. Baltimore, which was officially presented by the United States to Great Britain on the occasion of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Ghiglieri was just twenty-two years of age at the time he completed the piece.

Following his discharge from the Navy, Lorenzo joined the staff of Stephen Biondi Studios. From the beginning of his professional career, Ghiglieri has made little distinction between commercial and fine art. To his way of thinking, what he was producing was art. If it was to be used for some other purpose, such as selling a product, then it could be called commercial art. Should it be displayed for the enjoyment of its qualities as art, then properly it could be called fine art.

Lorenzo has won numerous national awards in design and illustration, including an invitation to paint scenes for an international biblical epic, "Earth, Theater of the Universe". This painting consists of a 100-foot rendition of the earth's history according to biblical tradition, It incorporates close to 400 figures, most of which were posed and painted from life, and the result has been shown in gallery and screen presentations.

In 1992, Lorenzo sculpted the "American Bald Eagle" in bronze, silver and gold, and the piece is part of the permanent collection at the White House. More recently, he created a 33-foot tall bronze eagle, "Skookum Hyak" (Power Surge), that dominates the entrance to a resort in Oregon. Louisiana Pacific, a large lumber producing company in Oregon, is an admirer of their state's sculptor. In their offices in Portland, there are over a half dozen of his bronze works, two of which are of eagles. At the City Hall of Kansas City there is a statue of Abraham Lincoln and his son, Tad, sculpted by Ghiglieri, a work donated to the city in 1986 by Orville W. Anderson.

A well traveled man, Ghiglieri has experienced many environments, including lonely life as a frontiersman. He has explored deserts and mountains, hunted in the Yukon, lived among Eskimo Natives, and fished many western rivers. He has a deep interest in the preservation of wildlife, and the protection of America's vanishing western heritage, as is evident in his bronze works that often depict eagles, mountain sheep, dolphin, and bear.

Since 1956, Ghiglieri has lived in the vicinity of Portland, Oregon, drawn there by the city's beautiful setting and its proximity to large amounts of wilderness where he was able to realize a long-held dream of raising horses. He has hunted, photographed and sketched the animals in their native habitats. He has often ridden his horse through land that once belonged to the Nez Pierce Indians, and has become very aware of the historical import of the land of the Indians and its people, and has created a series of six bronzes that celebrate them. The first four are Leader of Leaders, White Bird's Coup, First Arrow of Looking Glass and Chief Joseph.

Ghiglieri's works on his sculptures and paintings in one of his two studios in the Portland area. It was not until 1974 that Ghiglieri turned to bronze sculpture. After years of working in paint, he decided to employ a medium that involved the third dimension and began applying clay or wax to an armature (a supporting wire or tubular framework). Lorenzo sees himself as a storyteller, and works in a style he relates to baroque realism. His is not a static naturalism, but a robust organization of nature observed along lines of action and counteraction. "When I was young," Lorenzo says, "I labored over small details. As one matures, that is no longer needed."

The centuries old 'lost wax' method is used to produce Lorenzo's precise, life-like sculptures in bronze, silver and gold. The process takes nine steps beginning with his conceptual sketch before the original sculpture is done in either clay or wax. The remaining steps: making the mold, creating the wax shell, dipping in the slurry silicone mixture, burning the wax out, pouring the bronze, finishing and tooling the sculpture and the final patina finish usually takes approximately eight weeks from beginning to end. In the case of larger heroic size monuments it can take a year or longer to produce the finished product.

Pieces by Ghiglieri have often been auctioned for charity causes, including the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, AIDS, children with cancer and the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Ghiglieri's work is held in numerous prominent collections, including the permanent White House Collection, the Vatican, Kremlin, and the Smithsonian Museum. Many world leaders possess his sculptures, among them Pope John Paul II, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Queen Elizabeth.

Continuing the family's artistic tradition, Lorenzo's son, Laran Ghiglieri, is also a sculptor in Oregon.
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Note from Bev Wagner, submitted March 2005

"It was interesting to read in Lorenzo's bio the note about his marine painting of the USS Baltimore while he was in the Service in Norfolk,Va.

In the late 50s while trying to make a living as an artist, Lorenzo did wonderful artist's renderings of large construction machinery which my husband's family manufactured. It was with these drawings that the company was able to show and sell their innovative machinery to dealers all over the world.

We now live in Bend, Oregon and see Lorenzo's art at his gallery in Sisters, Oregon. We have a marvelous painting of an African lion he did and I remember Lorenzo's painting of Mt. St. Helens and the old man who stayed with her (the lion) during the 1980 erruption. He is and always has lived his life in grand scale.


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