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Bronze Casting Explored in Installation at the Getty Museum

Foundry to Finish: In the Studio of Adriaen de Vries
Through January 9, 2000
Location: North Pavilion

September 7, 1999

LOS ANGELES- Foundry to Finish: In the Studio of Adriaen de Vries, an exhibition currently on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum, offers a captivating depiction of how bronze sculpture was created by Renaissance sculptor Adriaen de Vries, one of the most skillful bronze casters in history. The installation complements the international touring exhibition, Adriaen de Vries, Imperial Sculptor, on view at the Getty from October 12 through January 9, 2000.

Organized by Peggy Fogelman, associate curator of sculpture, and Jane Bassett, associate conservator, Foundry to Finish shows how de Vries created his work using a process called direct lost-wax casting--a method that yields a single, unique bronze cast of the artist’s original clay and wax model. The fact that de Vries repeatedly overcame the risks inherent in this casting method--the original is destroyed during the process, which means the artist must start from scratch if a mistake is made—testifies to de Vries’ confidence as well as his astounding technical virtuosity.

In the exhibition, 13 step-by-step models reproduce the sculpting and casting of one of de Vries’ greatest masterpieces, Juggling Man (around 1610-15, J. Paul Getty Museum). Through radiographs, visitors get a glimpse inside the sculpture to see how de Vries constructed his work. Dramatic video footage shot at Decker Studios, a Los Angeles fine arts foundry, brings to life the entire process from its structural armature to the outside patina.

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