Cover image for H. C. Westermann
H. C. Westermann
Westermann, H. C. (Horace Clifford), 1922-1981.
Publication Information:
Chicago : Museum of Contemporary Art ; New York, N.Y. : Harry N. Abrams, Inc., [2001]

Physical Description:
212 pages : illustrations (mostly color) ; 31 cm
General Note:
Catalog of an exhibition held at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, June 30-Sep. 23, 2001, and at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., Feb. 14-May 12, 2002, and at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, June 9-Sep. 8, 2002, and at Menil Collection, Houston, Oct. 4, 2002-Jan. 5, 2003.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NB237.W44 A4 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



"This volume, published on the occasion of a major exhibition organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, is the first comprehensive study of Westermann's sculptures, which are examined closely in original and lively texts and more than two hundred illustrations. Encompassing the vast range of the artist's work, from his early constructions of the mid-1850s to his final sculptures of the early 1980s, this catalogue places Westermann's art in the context of his wartime service, his personal experiences, and the politics of his time. The resulting portrait reveals as never before the ideas behind Westermann's unique assemblages."--BOOK JACKET.


This exhibition catalogue is the first comprehensive study of sculptor H. C. Westermann to be published in over twenty years. The work of H. C. Westermann (1922-1981) encompasses defining issues central to the twentieth century. His works, such as The Death Ship sculptures often address wartime service, and share themes such as anxiety in the nuclear age and the artist as an outcast and an outsider.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Twenty years after his death, Westermann, a great if not yet fully appreciated American sculptor, is accorded a major traveling exhibition and this pioneering and handsomely illustrated overview. Curator Storr and his distinguished contributors, including art critic Dennis Adrian, neatly combine biographical and critical perspectives to illuminate the artist's masterfully crafted and psychologically acute creations. Storr reflects on the tremendous impact Westermann's combat duty as a marine had on his worldview and work, which are characterized by a sharp sense of paradox and sardonic humor. Built with tender regard for his materials, especially wood (a reflection of his love of nature), Westermann's death ships, mystery houses, secret-filled boxes, and machinelike variations on the human form embrace both our quest for security and refuge and the unavoidable precariousness and absurdity of life. Vital, mischievous, and down-to-earth, Westermann believed in hard work, possessed a keen aesthetic, and succeeded brilliantly in transmuting deep emotion into a folksy surrealism that draws viewers in with its quirky charm and then ambushes them with its provocative powers. Donna Seaman

Choice Review

Although Westermann (1922-81) is one of the most important US artists since WW II, this is the first comprehensive study of his sculptures. Serving as the catalog for an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, it is a model catalog, appealing and valuable to scholars as well as general readers. The artist's incomparable assemblages, represented by some 200 works, as well as his biography are discussed, the former made visually available through some 200 excellent color images. The works in the exhibition are discussed in a series of essays by Museum curators and art critic Dennis Adrian and Museum of Modern Art senior curator Robert Storr. The essays, which discuss the artist's early constructions from the mid-1950s to his final sculptures of the early 1980s, are abundantly illustrated with a plethora of excellent images. In an unprecedented fashion, the catalog reveals the ideas behind Westermann's works. A superb chronology, an exhibition checklist, a solo exhibition history, and a group exhibition history complement the essays and illustrations. Well produced, reasonably priced, and eminently accessible both visually and intellectually, the catalog is a watershed publication, highly recommended especially for collections of modern art. General readers; undergraduates through faculty. J. Weidman Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Table of Contents

Robert FitzpatrickLynne Warren and Michael RooksRobert StorrDennis AdrianLynne WarrenMichael Rooks
Director's Forewordp. 7
Acknowledgmentsp. 9
Lenders to the Exhibitionp. 12
Sponsorsp. 13
The Devil's Handymanp. 16
H. C. Westermann's Sculptures, 1954-1981: Fragments of a Critical Introductionp. 34
"Right Where I Live": H. C. Westermann's American Experiencep. 50
"I Made a Deal with God": H. C. Westermann's House and Studiop. 64
Platesp. 80
Chronologyp. 169
Exhibition Checklistp. 190
Solo Exhibition Historyp. 196
Group Exhibition Historyp. 198
Bibliographyp. 204
Notes to the Reader for the Catalogue Raisonnep. 214
Catalogue Raisonne of Objectsp. 217
Indexesp. 390
Notes on Contributorsp. 397
Photography Creditsp. 398