George S. Stuart
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George S. Stuart
Artist-Historian George S. Stuart
|Gallery of Historical Figures, Museum of Ventura County, Ventura, California;|
George Stuart (born 1929) is an American sculptor, raconteur and historian. He has traveled the United States presenting historical monologues about the last four centuries in the Americas, Europe, Russia and China. To help audiences visualize the personalities in his monologues, Stuart created over 400 historically accurate, quarter life-size sculptures of personages with political influence from the 16th to the 19th century. His works have been exhibited in The Smithsonian and Clinton Presidential Library as well as at other museums and libraries throughout the United States.
As a young boy, Stuart traveled to Europe and became increasingly interested in historical architecture. In his teens, he constructed a scale model of the French Palace of Versailles and began to experiment with the human form after receiving an articulated marionette as a gift.
Stuart attended Georgetown University and the American University in Washington, D.C. where he studied history, economics, languages and international law while preparing to become a Foreign Service Officer but his academic career was frustrated by dyslexia, a condition not recognized in those days.
Then, in the early 1950s, he was offered a position at the Smithsonian Institution, where he sculpted figures of inventors to accompany patent models exhibited there. As a member of the Smithsonian staff, he also participated in the development of the President's Wives exhibit.
Stuart was ill as a young man and had to abandon his work for a time.(2)(from George Stuart's own speech, in the Abraham Lincoln exhibit at Ventura County Museum, Ventura, CA)
Later he attended the University of California in Santa Barbara, where he was drawn to the performing arts. He began traveling the United States delivering historical monologues about politically influential people from world history in combination with displays of his historical sculptures.
When Stuart moved to Ojai, California in 1959, he opened The Gallery of Historical Figures and began teaching workshops on figural construction, costuming and sculpting faces. In 1991, the city of Ojai presented Stuart with its Lifetime Achievement in the Arts award. He also has been recognized by the United States Congress.
Stuart's Historical Figures are on permanent exhibit at the Museum of Ventura County and the Naples Museum of Art in Naples, Florida. Temporary exhibits have been held at Pasadena Museum of History, the Ojai Valley Museum of History and Art, the Oxnard Library, and California State University.
He has created more than 400 "Historical Figures" in groups to complement his performances. The groups include, American Revolutionary and Civil Wars (Samuel Adams to Abraham Lincoln), English Monarchies (Henry VII to Edward VII), Bourbon Dynasty (Henry IV to Charles X), Czarist Russia (Ivan IV to Joseph Stalin) Manchu Dynasty (Nurhaci to Mao Tse-Tung, Renaissance & Reformation (various rulers and clergy), Conquest of the Americas (Columbus to John Fremont), Really Awful People (history's infamous), Warriors of the Ages, Germanic Myth & Legend (northern pantheon) and his earliest works. Stuart's favorite figurine is that of Lincoln, which he describes as "...the most enjoyable thing I ever did. Truly compelling."
- David Kelly, "Fascinated by figurines". Los Angeles Times, as reprinted in the Montreal Gazette, September 10, 2001: E5.
- "Introducing George Stuart, artist historian and entertaining lecturer". www.galleryhistoricalfigures.com. Retrieved 2016-02-24.
- Green, Lee (2004). George Stuart's Historical Figures. Ventura County Museum of History and Art. ISBN 0-9729361-2-2.
- Davis, Ivor (2009). "Making History: G.S. Stuart and the Art of Fine Detail". Ventana Monthly. Southland Publishing. 4 (5): 32–35.
- Kettmann, Kevin (2004). "The Art of History, The Fascinating Figurines of George Stuart". Ventura Magazine (Fall).