Edward Marshall Boehm
|Edward Marshall Boehm|
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
|Died||January 29, 1969
|Occupation||American figurative expressionist sculptor|
Edward Marshall Boehm (1913 – January 29, 1969) was a self-taught American sculptor known for his porcelain figures of birds and other wildlife. Boehm explained his choice of porcelain as the medium for his art as follows:
- "Porcelain is a permanent creation. If properly processed and fired, its colors will never change; and it can be subjected to extreme temperatures without damage. It is a medium in which one can portray the everlasting beauty of form and color of wildlife and nature."
Edward Marshall Boehmwas born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1913. His surname is pronounced "Beam". His parents separated before he was born. His mother, Elsie Boehm, died when he was seven years old. (He was not to meet his father until he was in his twenties.) Friends enrolled him in an all boys school for orphans and the poor, known as McDonogh School, where he remained until he was 16 years old.
He studied animal husbandry (farm management) at the University of Maryland. After the war he apprenticed for six months at the studio of the sculptor Herbert Haseltine. He studied draftsmanship three times a week. He taught himself the ancient process of porcelain making.
From 1934-42 he managed Longacres Farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, specializing in Guernsey cattle. During World War II Boehm was in charge of a rehabilitation program for the Air Force at Pawling, New York. In 1944 he married Helen Franzolin (1920-2010). They later moved to Trenton, New Jersey. The union was happy but childless. They remained together until Edward Marshall Boehm died 1969. His widow died in 2010, aged 89.
Boehm kept a large collection of exotic birds in extensive aviaries and tropical houses at his home in Trenton. These birds became some of the subjects and inspiration for his sculptures. Many of these species were successfully bred, approximately 12 were recognised as being for the first time in captivity anywhere in the world. For these breeding successes Boehm was awarded a number of commemorative medals and plaques, including some by the UK based society, the Foreign Bird League.
UK born Curator of birds, Charles Everitt, wrote a book in 1973 called "Birds of the Edward Marshall Boehm Aviaries". This mainly dealt with the soft-billed birds in the collection, but also includes some of the extensive numbers of species of Parrotlike, Seed-eating birds, Waterfowl and Gallinaceous birds.
Edward Marshall Boehm died from a heart attack on January 29, 1969, aged 55 or 56.
Boehm was accorded its highest honor in 1992 when a wing of the Vatican Museums in Rome was named in his memory. This was the first time in its 500-year history that one of the thirteen museums in the Vatican was named for an American, as the twelve other museums are named for popes and royal families.
”The image and likeness of God's world is seen at once in the work of Edward Marshall Boehm. It is not an elusive and esoteric expression like so much of contemporary art. Clarity is its first quality. Its grandeur is in its perfection. It is a disciplined art, mastering the demands of the ancient and distinguished craft of porcelain making”
Frank J. Cosentino, president of Edward Marshall Boehm, Inc., explained the importance of Boehm's hard-paste porcelain sculpture: "Prior to Edward Marshall Boehm's venture in 1950s, few, if any, American firms had ever made hard-paste porcelain sculpture that successfully compared with the fine centuries-old production of Europe and Asia."
Today Boehm porcelain is in the permanent collections of one hundred thirty-four institutions globally including:
- White House, Washington, D.C.
- Buckingham Palace, London, England
- Elysѐe Palace, Paris, France
- The Vatican Museum, Vatican City
- Hermitage, Moscow, Russia
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
- Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
- John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.
- New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, New Jersey
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- The Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, Tennessee
- The Louisiana State Museum
- The Smithsonian Institution
- Bellingrath Gardens and Home, Mobile, Alabama
- University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
- Frank J. Cosentino, Boehm's birds; The Porcelain Art of Edward Marshall Boehm (New York, F. Fell, 1960); OCLC: 1356021
- F. Cosentino, Edward Marshall Boehm — First Retrospective Exhibition, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
- Reese Palley, The Porcelain Art of Edward Marshall Boehm, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1976; ISBN 0-8109-0701-1
- Frank J. Cosentino, Edward Marshall Boehm, 1913-1969, (Chicago: The Lakeside Press, 1970); OCLC: 101799; p. 43
- Boehm's Birds: The Porcelain Art of Edward Marshall Boehm, (New York: Frederic Fell, 1966); OCLC: 150502385, p. 30
- Frank J. Cosentino, Boehm's birds; the porcelain art of Edward Marshall Boehm (New York, F. Fell 
- Reese Palley, "The porcelain art of Edward Marshall Boehm", p. 40
- "The Vatican Museums Dedicates Boehm Wing in Honor of Edward Boehm"
- Cosentino, F. Boehm's Birds: The Porcelain Art of Edward Marshall Boehm, (New York: Frederic Fell, 1966); OCLC: 150502385, pp. 7, 8
- Cosentino, F.Edward Marshall Boehm, 1913-1969, (Chicago: The Lakeside Press, 1970); OCLC: 101799 p. 30
- Edward Marshall Boehm at Find a Grave
- Edward Marshall Boehm (1913-1969): Ceramic Sculptures Edward Marshall Boehm at the Stark Museum of Art
- Edward Marshall Boehm, sculpture image at www.askart.com Sculpture image