Icarus, 1965, bronze

In Greek mythology, Icarus and his father, Daedalus, were trapped in a labyrinth on the island of Crete. To escape, Daedalus made them both wings out of feathers and wax. Ignoring his father's warning not to fly too close to the sun, Icarus fell into the sea when his wings melted. The myth is often employed to symbolize the hubris of youth or the failed ambition of humankind.


Lotus, 1960, bronze

Among the most popular sculptures in the Garden, Lotus (the Egyptian goddess of fertility) was modeled after a hippopotamus in the San Antonio Zoo. The San Antonio parents who commissioned it in stoneware soon requested enough bronze castings for each family member. It has since become one of the artist’s most popular sculptures.

Madonna & Child, 1967, bronze

This is an abstract or stylized interpretation of the iconic image of the Madonna and Child, the scale model for an 8-foot bronze placed at St. David’s Hospital in Austin. Originally cast in plaster, it remained in storage until the St. David’s “Pink Ladies” raised funds to cast the work. It was dedicated at in 1989.


Muse I

Muse I, 1962, bronze

The Greek muses, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, preside over arts and sciences. Stylistically, their poses and clothing are classically inspired, creating elegant, timeless, inspirational figures. In 1962, the University of Texas (UT) commissioned three large bronze sculptures from the esteemed Professor Charles Umlauf. After spending two months casting the Muses in Pietrasanta, Italy, Umlauf shipped the larger-than-life bronzes to Austin for their 1963 installation on the roof garden at UT’s Undergraduate Library and Academic Center (today’s Flawn Academic Center).

In 1983, the Muses were relocated to commemorate UT’s Centennial. Centennial Park will now be incorporated into the University’s first medical school. Regrettably, the bronzes have been vandalized over the decades. Thus, in February 2014, UT loaned the Muses to the UMLAUF for preservation and temporary display. The UMLAUF collaborates with the community, the University of Texas, the City of Austin, and others to care for and conserve outdoor sculpture. The Muses are scheduled to return to UT upon completion of the Dell Medical School.


Muse II (head detail), 1963, bronze 

In 1963, Umlauf created three larger-than-life bronze inspirational figures —or Muses—for a major University of Texas commission. That same year he cast the head of the second Muse as a discrete work. The thin bronze here makes it easier to imagine the hollow interior of the larger-than-life Muses.










Pietà, 1963, bronze

One of two pietàs in the Garden, this composition closely upholds the tradition of the Virgin holding her deceased son. Umlauf originally made this in stoneware in 1958 and was able to cast it in bronze five years later. A golden bronze casting can be seen by the public at the University Catholic Center on the UT Austin campus.

Reclining Muse

Reclining Figure I, 1960, bronze

Umlauf submitted two proposals for the 1959 Love Field competition: Spirit of Flight (the winning submission) and Four Seasons, represented in the guise of four muses. Although he never created the latter project, Reclining Figure I (Muse) is a study for the theme, suggesting that she may symbolize a season. Umlauf extends the fabric beneath the figure, creating a base made of drapery.

Seated Bather, 1965, bronze

Umlauf made numerous seated and standing bathers throughout 1958 in preparation for his Valley House Gallery retrospective in Dallas the next year. This bather, cast in bronze in 1965, is exactly the size of its stoneware prototype. An enlarged version (#31) is nearby in the garden, allowing viewers to consider how scale affects form.\

Supplication, 1966, bronze

Umlauf made a small clay study for this sculpture in 1950 during a Guggenheim Fellowship. Umlauf allows the figure’s gestures and posture to represent the abstract concept of “supplication.” He remained interested in the theme 15 years later when he had the funds to transform the original ceramic into the full-size bronze, you see here.











Torchbearers, 1961, bronze

The Torchbearers display exaggerated muscles that emphasize speed and their athletic physiques. This is a one-third size model for the grand Torchbearers on the University of Texas at Austin campus. Another scale model can be seen at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas, and the UMLAUF owns a plaster model of one figure.

Young Horse, 1963, bronze

Horses, in different poses and patinas, were a favorite subject for Umlauf. A stone horse resides at the top of the hill in the Umlaufs' private garden, and a stoneware horse by Umlauf is in the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.





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