Milton Hebald (1917-Present)

Artists most often recognize their natural gift and demonstrate it at a very early age. Such was the case with Milton Hebald. Milton says he cannot remember a time when he did not already know that he was an artist. Likewise he recognized early that his gift was for sculpture.

He was only five when his father, a jeweler who'd been born in Cracow, Poland, was shot outside his Manhattan store in the course of a holdup, leaving his mother, Eva Elting to raise the family. Times were tough growing up on the streets of New York in the 1920's, but that is where the young Hebald demonstrated his prodigious talent, creating astonishing large-scale chalk drawings on the Madison Avenue sidewalks.

At about the age of eight, someone gave him a box of modeling clay in colored strips. It took no time at all for the boy to press, squeeze and form the clay into shapes and to realize the clay held the shape he gave it. Sculpture was to become his true vocation.

At the age of ten, he was the youngest student ever to attend the Art Students League. He studied at the National Academy of Design and the Beaux-Arts Institute and in 1932 at just 15 years of age; Milton was honored to become a founding artist of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

His first one man show was held at the age of twenty. A prolific artist, prizes came one after the other. In 1955, he was awarded the prestigious "Prix de Rome" Fellowship to the American Academy in Rome. Over the next few years he received the "Prix de Rome" award two more times at which point he decided to make Italy his permanent home. With his wife Cecille Rosner, he built a beautiful villa on the hilly shores of Lake Bracciano (30 km north of Rome) as well as an expansive studio. There they lived, worked and entertained the most famous artists and celebrities of the era.

Fifty years later in 2004, after producing a remarkable body of hundreds of works, Milton returned to the U.S. and chose the renowned art community of Santa Fe, New Mexico as his new home. Milton has since relocated to Los Angles, CA where his granddaughter Lara resides. He continues to work in terra cotta at the age of 93!

A master of anatomy, Hebald captures the movement of people celebrating life. His works in terra cotta, bronze and wood address the natural beauty of the figure. Often his sculptures depict light-hearted commentaries on the social scene or his own interpretations of mythological figures.

At the age of 80, the mature master began to present sensuous acts of love making in his work. Deeply influenced by the ancient Etruscan art and culture of northern Italy, he combined his mastery of anatomy with an Etruscan “feel” and developed a series of remarkably tender and highly erotic sculptures. Hebald commented, “These works of my later years reflect the union of the masculine and the feminine in all aspects of harmonious movement - the love act, the dance that precedes it and the frolic and fun.”

Each of these works is a gem, filled with an energy and vision unmoved by artistic fads or the critic's opinion.

Acclaimed as the spiritual heir of Auguste Rodin, Hebald's works range in size from mere inches to his most famous work, the bronze Zodiac Signs, commissioned by the JFK International Airport in 1964 and spanning more than two hundred & twenty feet.

Milton Hebald's works are prominently displayed in prestigious public installations worldwide (62 and counting) including Central Park, The Hague, Lincoln Center, United Nations Plaza, Los Angeles Olympic Park, etc.. His works are also included in the most esteemed private collections and major museums including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), Guggenheim Museum, Smithsonian Museum and many more.