André Harvey, a self-taught American artist known for his bronze sculptures of various animals including pigs, frogs, cows, manatees, and penguins, died at the age of seventy-six, Richard Sandomir of the New York Times reports. Harvey had been a writer and a teacher before he was inspired to pursue a career in art while traveling abroad in 1969.
Harvey and his wife, Bobbie, were visiting a gallery in Vallauris, France, when he first decided to become a sculptor, and he convinced the gallery owner to teach him how to weld. He then continued his training when he returned to the United States, where he learned mold-making from the Delaware-based artist Charles Parks.
Born in Hollywood, Florida, in 1945, Harvey grew up in rural Pocopson, Pennsylvania. His father was a conservationist who founded Delaware Wild Lands, a nonprofit that aims to preserve, protect, and enhance the state’s natural resources, and his brother, Rusty, kept a pet raccoon, which even served as a model for one of Harvey’s works. Harvey earned his bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Virginia and then worked as both a journalist and an educator.
His bronzes, which were primarily cast using the lost wax method, first gained national recognition when they were exhibited by Tiffany & Company in its Fifth Avenue flagship store. Since then, his pieces have been acquired by various institutions, including the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson; the Delaware Museum of Art in Wilmington; the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas; and the Art in Embassies program in Washington, DC.
Commenting on Harvey’s practice, David Cole, the executive director of the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware, said, “What defines his work is that it is not only attentive to the forms of the natural world, but all his subjects seem to be alive. Even his plants seem to be pulsating.”