Brooklyn Art Studio Creates JFK Sculpture for Kennedy Center

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JFK’s bronze sculpture at Kennedy Center, created by StudioEIS in Brooklyn. Photo courtesy of Kennedy Center

StudioEIS, a family-owned Brooklyn-based sculpture and design studio that has specialized in historic sculpture for more than four decades, will soon unveil its latest creation: a bronze sculpture of President John F. Kennedy.

Commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC and subscribed by Center President David M. Rubenstein in honor of its namesake, the sculpture is part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the nation’s performing arts center. The 81-inch, 660-pound sculpture will be located outside in the Lower Campus Gardens and will be accessible to all visitors to the Kennedy Center complex.

A private unveiling is scheduled for the afternoon of December 4, 2021, during Kennedy Center Honors weekend.

“President Kennedy’s immense vitality and dedication to the arts has inspired the Kennedy Center’s programs since it opened 50 years ago as a living memorial to the young president,” said David M. Rubenstein. “What better way to embody these values ​​than with a naturalistic sculpture of this remarkable leader, reminding us all of his powerful presence, who helped reshape our world? “

StudioEIS, located in Sunset Park, is perhaps best known for capturing the likeness of important historical figures such as Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln on the steps of the New-York Historical Society in New York, and the 42 bronze sculptures of the signatories. of the Constitution of the United States at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Ivan Schwartz, Founder and Director of StudioEIS in Brooklyn Photo courtesy of StudioEIS

The studio team acts as “historical detectives” to accurately evoke these luminaries of the past, capturing their characters through the investigation of archival documents, such as measurements of personal clothing items, anecdotal descriptions and historical and an in-depth study of all photographic documents.

This project presented a different challenge: Kennedy was a media-friendly president, extensively photographed and filmed, creating a strong “popular memory” in the collective mind of the nation.

“Our personal and political lives have never been so intertwined as they are now only in this area of ​​public sculpture, which has always been my personal life. passionate about loveSaid Ivan Schwartz, co-founder of StudioEIS. “While it put our skills to the test, there was great satisfaction in creating this new Kennedy sculpture.”

Elliot Schwartz, co-founder of StudioEIS in Brooklyn. Photo courtesy of StudioEIS

Working closely with the Kennedy Center to make critical artistic decisions, StudioEIS wanted to evoke an image of President Kennedy full of energy and very accessible.

After finalizing the initial design of the figure, the complex and laborious process of creating a bronze sculpture began. Sculptors at StudioEIS created the prototype, hand sculpting the original clay piece over several months in the Brooklyn studio, which was then used to create a hollow wax mold.

At the UAP foundry in upstate New York, molten bronze filled the mold and solidified inside as it cooled, then the mold was shattered to reveal the metal sculpture. The hand finishing, cleaning and patina were the last steps in a long process that lasted a year.

Since 1976, StudioEIS has combined his love for American history and his extraordinary sculpture skills to create an astonishing body of work that tells a tale of 400 years of American history. It was co-founded by brothers Ivan and Elliot Schwartz, the Brooklyn-based team includes sculptors, costume experts, historians, foundry partners and other specialists.

Notable commissions include work created for the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, PA; the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC; the Maryland State House, Annapolis, MD; the monument to the women of Virginia, in Richmond, Virginia; the National WWII Museum, New Orleans, LA; and more.


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