“The Poetry of Sculpture” at Michener Museum
“TRANSITION”: This 1965 work, originally commissioned for the J. C. Penney Headquarters Building in New York City, is featured in “The Poetry of Sculpture: Raymond Granville Barger (1906–2001),” on view through October 20 at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa.
The Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa., now features “The Poetry of Sculpture: Raymond Granville Barger (1906–2001),” on view through October 20.
Visitors have the opportunity to meander through the indoor and outdoor exhibition viewing objects from the museum’s permanent collection as well as several loans, many of which come from private collections. Rarely exhibited works from the 1930s provide insight into Barger’s early classical approach, while later sculptures signal his development as a symbolic abstractionist as well as a technical innovator.
While best-known for his monumental outdoor sculptures, including works for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Barger also created smaller-scale, more intimate works for interior spaces. His Transition, a 25-foot long bronze sculpture originally commissioned for the J. C. Penney Headquarters Building in New York City in 1965, has graced the Byers Garden at the Michener since the year after the museum opened.
Raymond Barger believed that artists and sculptors should work hand in hand with architects and industrial leaders, shaping the contemporary scene. A graduate of the Carnegie Institute of Technology and Yale University School of Fine Arts, Barger moved to Carversville, Pennsylvania in 1966, where he and his wife, Lilas, had a significant impact on the region’s cultural landscape for many years. “The Poetry of Sculpture” celebrates the life and works of this influential artist.
From the 1930s to the 1950s, a period less well-documented than Barger’s later career, the sculptor also had a successful business in model making and photography for architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Barger’s primary focus centered on sculpture, but he also excelled in poetry and writing. He wrote prolifically and referred to himself as both poet and sculptor. His poetry expands on the universal themes with which he grappled in his art, perhaps most evident in his magnum opus Equality. Raymond Barger believed that humanity could be understood, shaped, and improved through art — visual and literary — a potent belief powerfully illustrated by the present exhibition.
In addition to the works on display in the Beans Gallery, three sculptures are on view in the entry courtyard and sculpture garden, and visitors are encouraged to explore and enjoy the Michener’s outdoor spaces as well as its galleries for its first solo exhibition commemorating Barger’s work.
The Michener Art Museum is located at 138 Pine Street in Doylestown, Pa. For more information, call (215) 340-9800 or visit www.michenerartmuseum.org.