Douwe Blumberg

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Douwe Blumberg
Born Los Angeles, California
Education University of Southern California, Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts
Known for Sculpture
Notable work America's Response Monument, Flight 5191 Memorial
Spouse(s) Marci Blumberg
Awards ADEX design award; Leonard J. Meiselman Sculpture award
Website Douwe Studios

Douwe Blumberg (pronounced "Dow", a Dutch name) is a bronze sculptor who is most well known for his statue of a special forces soldier on horseback commemorating Special Forces operations in Afghanistan during the opening days of Operation Enduring Freedom. He has received more than 200 commissions and a number of awards since becoming a sculptor in 2000. He attended the University of Southern California and studied at the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts. He was a horse trainer for 18 years before he became a sculptor.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Blumberg was born in Los Angeles, California.[2] Both of his parents were talented amateur artists and his early life included a lot of formal and informal art education.[3] Blumberg spent several years in Europe as a youth where he learned about Western artistic traditions.[1]

Blumberg’s art education was a “classical” combination of traditional schooling, private tutoring and hands-on apprenticeship to which he attributes his ability to work in diverse styles and materials. The child of two amateur artists, his childhood was heavily focused on the study of art history and exposure to the arts. At a young age, noted woodcarver, James Conrad Dallas was hired as a private tutor, a relationship which lasted for the next 35 years. As a teenager, he studied four years of sculpture, metal working and jewelry while also attending the University of Southern California while studying at Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts. This was all followed by an apprenticeship at an art foundry where he learned the hands-on process of creating bronze sculptures.[3]

Never contemplating an artistic career, upon graduation he pursued a career as a professional horse trainer at his ranch in Los Angeles. Upon changing to a full-time artistic career and longing for a more rural lifestyle, he moved to Northern Kentucky in 2001 where he now resides and maintains his studio.[4] He is married to Marci Blumberg and between them they have four daughters.[5]

Professional career[edit]

Blumberg puts the finishing touches on the clay model of the Horse Soldier Sculpture before the bronze work is begun.

Hailed as “America’s finest sculptor” by Vice President Joe Biden during his dedication speech for New York City’s “America’s Response Monument”, Blumberg did not originally envision an artistic career for himself.[6] For thirteen years after graduation, he pursued a career as a professional horse-trainer at his ranch in Los Angeles. After finishing his education he became a professional horse trainer. He purchased a barn outside Los Angeles and built up a successful business training show horses and started a family. After several years he slowly began to sculpt again part-time. He began accepting commissions and after 18 years training horses, on one weekend he collected a check for $600 for horse training and another check for $6000 for a sculpture. At that point he decided to pursue sculpting.[5] He closed his barn in 2000 and pursued sculpture work full-time.[3]

His background and interest in horses and a personal interest in military history gave him a unique expertise. In late 2001, he was moved when saw a photo of the U.S. Special Operations forces horseback riding into battle in the early stages of Operation Enduring Freedom. Blumberg decided to create a statue marking the singular event. Over nine months at his own expense he completed a 18 inches (460 mm) tall bronze sculpture of a Green Beret riding an Afghan horse.[7] The idea gathered attention and support.

A group of Wall Street bankers who lost friends and co-workers in the 9/11 attacks funded the monumental bronze statue.[8] America's Response Monument was dedicated on October 19, 2012 to the memory of the special forces[9] by General John Mulholland, Deputy Commanding General of U.S. Army Special Forces Command. It was placed in front of One World Trade Center across from Ground Zero and 9/11 Memorial.

Commissions[edit]

In 2011, Blomberg was selected from among over 200 other artists and won the commission for the Nevada State Veterans Memorial. It includes 18 large bronze figures.[10] He was chosen from among 49 other applicants to construct a memorial to the victims of the crash of Flight 5191 at Blue Grass Airport on August 27, 2006.[11] He was selected by the Special Forces Association, the Foundation for U.S. Historical Monuments, and Special Operations Association to sculpt the new a life-and-a-half scale U.S. Army Special Forces Monument to be placed at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina and Washington D.C.[1][11] Other commissions he's received include the "The Birds of Valencia," a 17-foot tall flock of birds for the Intertex Companies in Los Angeles, which was placed at the Bridgeport Marketplace shopping center in Valencia, California.[12] He has also been commissioned to create a life-size herd of wild horses for the city of Aurora, Colorado, a large outdoor musical piece for the performing arts center in Lebanon, Kentucky, a new monument at the entrance to the Vance Brand Airport in Longmont, Colorado,[5] a life-size monument for the Kentucky State Fair and Exposition Center, the New Jersey Fallen Soldiers Monument to be placed at Picatinny Arsenal, a large commission for the American Saddlebred Museum, and the Bahrainian embassy in D.C.[1] Other monument commissions include: Reflections, William Shatner residence 2006; Way of Horse and Bow, William Shatner residence 2014; Safekeeping, Royal residence in Dubai, UAE 2005; Ode to Joy, San Francisco 2013; Ascension, Charleston 2015.

Recognition[edit]

Blumberg has completed more than 200 private and public commissions and received a number of awards[3] since he opened his studio full-time in 2000.[2] He was recognized with the 2002 Leonard J. Meiselman award in Sculpture from the American Academy of Equine Artists, the 2003 Loveland sculpture invitational, the 2003 ADEX design award.[5]

In 2003 he received a commission from William Shatner for a statue that became the "Way of Horse and Bow", featuring a Samurai warrior on horseback. The original is displayed in front of Shatner's personal residence along with two other works by Blomberg. Shatner donated a second, 200-pound bronze replica of the "Way of Horse and Bow" to the Frazier History Museum in Louisville, Kentucky.[13] Blomberg was also commissioned to create a life-size monument for the United Professional Horseman's Association. A smaller version of America’s Response Monument was put on display at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Douwe Blumberg". N J Fallen Soldiers Foundation. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "About the Artist". Douwe Studios. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Douwe Blumberg". UrbanArt. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Artist's Statement". Foundation for U.S. Historical Monuments. Archived from the original on April 1, 2008. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Auge II, Roger (10 May 2013). "Horse trainer turned sculptor achieves international acclaim for larger-than-life work". Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Statue by Douwe Blumberg Seeks Home in Lower Manhattan". The New York Times. NOV. 10, 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2016.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ "Unconventional Work". Blackwater. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  8. ^ Quade, Alex (October 27, 2011). "Commando monument near ground zero unveiled on Veterans Day". Washington Times. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "Report: Veterans Day, 2011". November 12, 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  10. ^ "Las Vegas Veterans Memorial". MuseumWithoutWalls. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Blackford, Linda B. (28 August 2011). "Flight 5191 Memorial: The story behind a sculpture of remembrance". Lexington Herald Leader. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  12. ^ Aidem, Patricia Farrell. "Sculpture soars at shopping center site". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "Video-Shatner Unveils Samurai Sculpture". 16 May 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2013.