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Harry Abend, OFM, is a Polish-born Venezuelan sculptor and architect.
Born on May 5, 1937 in Jarosław, Poland, Abend moved at age 11 to Venezuela with his family. He studied at Colegio Moral y Luces and then at the Liceo Andrés Bello in Caracas. He graduated from high school and went on to study architecture at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, where he was taught by Carlos Raúl Villanueva, among others.
Abend participated in an art workshop dictated by acclaimed British sculptor Kenneth Armitage in 1964. Between 1965 and 1970, he was the professor of tridimensional composition at the Neumann Institute of Design, where other renowned artists such as Gego taught similar courses. He established himself in London for six years, then returned to Caracas to continue his artistic work. In the next following decades, his style developed and matured as he engaged in numerous projects, installations, art exhibitions and collectives. Abend's sculptures are done mainly in wood, bronze, and concrete; he is also known for designing high-scale architectural elements of important buildings, such as the façade of the Teatro Teresa Carreño, the ceiling of the Caracas Israeli Union synagogue, and the new perimeter fence of the Court of Supreme Justice in Venezuela. Abend is a skilled engraver and illustrator; he also engages in jewelry making, working primarily with gold, silver and precious gems. The elegant nature of his jewels is such that he was commissioned by the Venezuelan Government several times to craft pieces as gifts for important diplomatic personalities (e.g., he produced a complete jewelry set for Patricia Nixon while she was the First Lady of the United States).
Abend has exhibited in numerous galleries, museums and art events around the world, some of which are:
- Salon D'Empaire, Maracaibo (Shell Award winner for sculpture).
- Goldsmith's Hall, London.
- Electrum Gallery, London.
- Roundhouse Gallery, London.
- Trasnocho Cultural Center.
- National Art Gallery of Venezuela.
- Museum of Contemporary Art Francisco Narvaez, Porlamar, Nueva Sparta.
- Museum of Contemporary Art Sofia Imber.
- Museum of Contemporary Art of Zulia.
- Museo Alejandro Otero.
- Jesus Soto Museum of Modern Art, Ciudad Bolivar.
- Museum of Fine Arts, Venezuela.
- Museum of Modern Art,Rio de Janeiro.
- Jewelry Showcase: The Work of Harry Abend, Milwaukee.
- Biennial of Guayana.
- São Paulo Biennial.
Abend is often considered to be one of Venezuela's contemporary masters of sculpture. His life’s work, which spans over fifty years, has been exemplified in projects of varying nature and importance. His career as a sculptor started at an early age; in 1963, when he was only 26, he was awarded the prestigious Venezuelan National Award in Sculpture (Premio Nacional de Escultura) for the work “Forma 1961”. Later in his career, he was awarded the Order of Francisco de Miranda, First Class, in 1990. He was shown homage by the Latin American Art Fair (Feria de Arte Latinoamericana), in 2009.
- Video on YouTube