Ernst Neizvestny, Russian-American sculptor, Died at 91


Ernst Iosifovich Neizvestny was born on April 9, 1925, and died on August 9, 2016.

He was a Russian-American sculptor, painter, graphic artist, and art philosopher.

Ernst Neizvestny emigrated to the U.S. in 1976 and lived and worked in New York City. His last name in Russian literally means “unknown”.

The American playwright Arthur Miller once described Neizvestny as an “artist of the East” who is regarded by Russians as an “expression of the country, of its soul, language, and spirit” and as a “prophet of the future” who represents the “philosophical conscience of his country.”

The great American artist, Alexander Calder, once said to Neizvestny, “All my life I create the world of children, and you create the world of man.” [as reported by New York City Tribune, March 29, 1988.

His talent for large monumental sculptures was again recognized when in the late 1980s six Taiwan cities commissioned the New Statue of Liberty to be built in Kaohsiung harbor.

Just like the original in New York, it was planned to be 152 feet tall.

There were several models were built.

There was a copy about five feet tall, and approximately 13 smaller bronzes, each slightly over 18 inches, sold to clients of Magna Gallery in San Francisco.

However, the authorized maximum number of signed and numbered castings was 200, far fewer were actually cast and sold, in part because the monument was never built in Taiwan.

There was a biography of Neizvestny, that was written by University of Oregon professor Albert Leong in 2002 entitled: Centaur: The Life and Art of Ernst Neizvestny.

And, then, another book written about Neizvestny is Endurance, and the Role of the Artist, by British art critic John Berger.

He died in New York.

Ernst Neizvestny passed away away at 91 years old.