On View

Phantom in a Wooden Garden

Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines

Phantom in a Wooden Garden

Artist: Horace Clifford Westermann (American, 1922 - 1981)
Date: 1970
Medium: Douglas fir, pine, redwood and vermillion wood
Dimensions:
Overall: 28 x 36 1/2 x 18 3/4 in. (71.1 x 92.7 x 47.6 cm.)
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Coffin Fine Arts Trust; Nathan Emory Coffin Collection of the Des Moines Art Center, 1976.89
Accession number: 1976.89
Classification: sculpture
Copyright:ARS
Label TextWestermann worked mainly outside the art mainstream to create personal and autobiographical art that mixed found objects with his remarkable woodworking skills. He often presented dark imagery influenced by his time as a soldier in the South Pacific and Korea, as well as lighter scenes like Phantom in a Wooden Garden. Some of Westermann’s work, including this piece, seems related to Surrealism and its enigmatic and often humorous use of recognizable objects. The “phantom” here is inscribed with the name Cliff, the artist’s nickname. The “garden” that surrounds him features plant-like but highly stylized shapes. The perfection and beauty of the artist’s carpentry lend the work a sense of order and calm despite its enigmatic subject.
InscriptionH.C. Westermann 1970 (under side of right branch of center cactus)
Phantom in a Wooden Garden (top area of right branch of center cactus)
Exhibition History"Chicago Imagists," Davenport Museum of Art, IA, 1994

"Woodworks I: New American Sculpture," Dayton Art Institute, OH, Oct. 21, 1980 - Feb. 1, 1981

"H.C. Westermann," Whitney Museum of American Art, N. Y., May 17 - July 16, 1978; (Circulated to: New Orleans Museum of Art, LA, Aug. 25 - Oct. 15, 1978; Des Moines Art Center, Nov. 13 - Dec. 25, 1978; Seattle Art Museum, WA, Jan. 17 - Feb. 25, 1979; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA, Mar. 30 - May 20, 1979)

"Whitney Museum Sculpture Annual 1970," Whitney Museum of American Art, N. Y., Dec. 12, 1970 - Feb. 7, 1971
Published ReferencesNicholas Rourkes, MASTERS OF WOOD SCULPTURE, Watson-Guptill Publications, N.Y., 1980, ill. p.150

NATHAN EMORY COFFIN COLLECTION, a portfolio of fifty selections in the collection, published by the DMAC to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Nathan Emory Coffin, 1981, b/w ill.

CHICAGO IMAGISM: A 25 YEAR SURVEY, Davenport Museum of Art, 1994, exh. cat. b/w ill. p.20

Jud Yalkut, review of exhibition "Woodworks I: New American Sculpture," DIALOGUE: THE OHIO ARTS JOURNAL, Mar./Apr. 1981, ref. p.4, ill. p.5

DAYTON ART INSTITUTE'S CALENDAR OF EVENTS, Oct. 1980, cover ill.

"Woodworks I: New American Sculpture," Dayton Art Institute, OH, 1980, exh. cat. no.20, ill. no.20

"H. C. Westermann," Whitney Museum of American Art, N. Y., 1978, exh. cat. checklist ref. p.93, ill. p.82

Franz Schulze, FANTASTIC IMAGES - CHICAGO ART SINCE 1945, Follett Publishing Company, Chicago, 1972, ill. p.72

AN UNCOMMON VISION: THE DES MOINES ART CENTER, Des Moines Art Center, 1998, ref. p.283, color ill. p.282

"Whitney Museum Sculpture Annual 1970," Whitney Museum of American Art, N. Y., 1970, exh. cat. no.95, ill. p.38

DES MOINES ART CENTER: SELECTED PAINTINGS, SCULPTURES AND WORKS ON PAPER, Des Moines Art Center, 1985, ref. p.212, b/w ill. pl.143, p.213

Kirsch Meichen, "Artist Keeps Fear of Death at Bay," KANSAS CITY STAR, Dec. 14, 1978 or 1980
entirely unexpected