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  #1  
Old 03-17-2008, 01:20 AM
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Merlion Merlion is offline
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Sculptor Harold Tovish Dies at age 86

He died on Jan 4. Somehow it takes so long for the news and obituary to appear now.

Noted sculptor Tovish dies at age 86

ALBUQUERQUE, March 16 (UPI) -- Sculptor Harold Tovish, known for his diverse-yet-dark works of art, has died in Albuquerque, N.M., at the age of 86. ...

Tovish died of complications of a stroke at the Montebello on Academy retirement home Jan. 4. ...


Obituary: Harold Tovish, 86; sculptor was ambitious for excellence

March 16, 2008. Boston Globe. Harold Tovish looked around his studio 23 years ago and surveyed his latest incarnation as a sculptor: images of entrapment captured by mirrors that let viewers gaze into infinite reflections.

"Some people think I've got it made," he told the Globe that day in 1985. "I've been happily married to the same woman for 38 years, our kids are wonderful, our new studios have plenty of space, we're doing all right financially, and yet - and yet, I'm haunted by these dark images."

Moving steadily from one approach to another, Mr. Tovish established himself as one of the most important and diverse artists in Boston for more than 40 years as he taught at the Museum of Fine Arts and Boston University.

Famous for exacting standards, he refused to complete most sculptures he began. And he finished nothing at all after the 1996 death of his wife, Marianna Pineda, a sculptor whose opinion he valued above all others.

A year ago, Mr. Tovish left Boston, his home for a half-century, to live in Albuquerque near one of his daughters. On Jan. 4, at 86, he died of complications of a stroke ...

"He wasn't afraid to die at all; he said he was ready at any time," said his daughter, Margo Morado of Albuquerque. "He was never afraid of death. He dealt with it a lot in his work. Being an atheist, he didn't have any fears of retribution."

His father, a Russian refugee, died when Mr. Tovish was a child in New York City. Destitute during the Depression, Mr. Tovish's mother placed his older sisters in foster care and sent him to the Hebrew Orphan Asylum.

The Dickensian existence was leavened by visits from artists working for federal Works Progress Administration, who taught lessons.

"The revelation that changed my life took place in WPA art school when I was about 16," he told the Globe in 1968. "As I finished my first piece of sculpture, I knew what I wanted to do." ...

And he sculpted, often for nobody's eyes save his own and his wife's. ... "He wasn't ambitious for fame so much as ambitious for excellence," said his daughter Nina of Washington, D.C. "One consequence is that he didn't leave behind a great body of work. He threw out 99 percent of everything he made. He held himself to an extremely high standard and was ruthless about it, with himself above all. He was very, very picky about what he would put his name to." ...

"He was daring," his son continued. "When he had an idea, sometimes he knew people would have trouble with it: It was either too grim or too provocative or too weird. But I guess he thought that was part of the artist's sensibility to lay these things out."

For Mr. Tovish, creation was an exploration of the self, and he often was most comfortable inside his studio.

"You don't go looking for art outside," he told the Globe in 1968. "It's inside. An artist is looking for an opening for himself."

Hardly somber, though, he amused friends with his quick mind. A ravenous reader, he was politically active and leaned significantly to the left, spending time with tax resisters and marching in protests during the Vietnam War.

"He had that kind of New York kibitzing humor," said Louis Kampf, a former professor at MIT and a longtime friend. "He'd drive waitresses crazy because they didn't really get it, but I got it. He was just a funny guy, wonderfully generous."

But when his wife died of cancer, he no longer could finish new sculptures.
"She was the core of his emotional life," Nina said.

"He told me the reason he stopped working was that it was only my mother's responses that mattered to him," Morado said. "It's not that he didn't respect other people, but it didn't have the same meaning to him on that deep level."

Before he died, "he made it quite clear that he wanted everything that wasn't finished destroyed, and we honored that," she said.

"He felt that art should be evocative and ambiguous, that the people looking at it should have to supply their own thoughts," his son said. "I mentioned to someone that his work was like reading poetry. You keep coming back and rereading it and finding more meanings with each return. Somehow that description got back to him, and he liked it."
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Old 03-17-2008, 08:44 AM
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evaldart evaldart is offline
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Re: Sculptor Harold Tovish Dies at age 86

Retirement home? Thats no place for a sculptor to be...ever.
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Old 03-17-2008, 04:36 PM
grommet grommet is offline
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Re: Sculptor Harold Tovish Dies at age 86

I bet his mashed potatoes looked better than everyone else's.
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:29 PM
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GlennT GlennT is offline
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Re: Sculptor Harold Tovish Dies at age 86

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Originally Posted by grommet View Post
I bet his mashed potatoes looked better than everyone else's.
I have to admire your ability to infuse even the saddest topics with an unexpected dose of wry humor!
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:37 PM
ironman ironman is offline
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Re: Sculptor Harold Tovish Dies at age 86

Hi, My studio IS my retirement home!!!!!!!!!
Have a great day,
Jeff
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:12 PM
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StevenW StevenW is offline
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Re: Sculptor Harold Tovish Dies at age 86

For the last 7 years I've lived right across the street from a skull orchard, row after row of those before me line the green grassy plain and I walk there sometimes.. There's a decent sculpture here and there among them, but nothing new or over the top.. I guess that's not the important thing though, I was taken when Claude made a sculpture for another past sculptor and hope this chap gets one for himself too. Every morning when I go to work I'm reminded that I'll be there next to them soon enough and it makes me apprecaite the ability to cut rock and have friends and all that stuff. I agree, a retirement home is no place for anyone really, I hope I pay the check in the saddle, knocking off the last chip of the last block for the last time thinking to myself: "I did it" and not "oh shit what did I do this time".
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:28 PM
grommet grommet is offline
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Re: Sculptor Harold Tovish Dies at age 86

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Originally Posted by GlennT View Post
I have to admire your ability to infuse even the saddest topics with an unexpected dose of wry humor!
Yeah thanks, that's really my only talent, inappropriate humor. I'm thinking of working on becoming a circus geek though, just for family gatherings where the conversation typically lags.
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