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Art-Deco 10-07-2015 09:19 PM

The "I Love Lucy" bronze
There was a big row over a commissioned bronze statue of Lucille Ball to be erected in a park in her former hometown, but as it turned out, almost no one liked the bronze and almost everyone says it doesn't look anything like Ms Ball and is horrible.

After much wrangling, the city has decided to commission a new sculptor to make a replacement, once it's made the first one will be removed and banished from the park.

That would have to be a real slap in the face of the one who did the first model, but the model, aside from not even resembling Ms Ball is seriously poor, just look at the figure's hair, it's not carefully modelled as one would expect, it's just a bunch of scratches.

Her left hand looks a bit strange at the wrist and the hand itself is poor

Celoron Receives $20,000 Donation to Help with New Lucy Statue

CELORON – A major donation has been made to assist with creating a new statue of Lucille Ball in Celoron’s Lucille Ball Memorial Park.

Village officials say a donation of $20,000 has been made by Ernie Boch, Jr. of Norwood, Massachusetts. In a media release from the village, Boch said he made the donation because he has tremendous affection for Lucy and the rest of the characters from the I Love Lucy TV show, adding that her hometown deserves the best statue possible.

Last month the village board voted unanimously to move the current statue of Lucille Ball – created by artist Dave Poulin – from the Park.

That decision followed a month-and-a-half of controversy and public outcry surrounding the statue, with many asking that it be removed and a more fitting statue take its place. Critics of the statue claimed the statue looked nothing like the comedy legend and as a result, requested that it be removed.

Here is approximately what the artist was trying to do:

raspero 10-08-2015 06:04 PM

Re: The "I Love Lucy" bronze
One must wonder about the back room politics that got that horror in the park to begin with. As Ringo Starr famously said, "Everything the government touches turns to shit."


Dries 10-09-2015 07:33 AM

Re: The "I Love Lucy" bronze
The necklace seem to be ok. In the first photo it almost look like not all the investment was removed, especially the hair.
I am not familiar with the process of doing a commission for a public sculpture, but surely the chosen artist should submit at least one small model for the panel to accept before commissioning the larger model?
I also don't like the statue.

mantrid 10-09-2015 08:31 AM

Re: The "I Love Lucy" bronze
The likeness is poor. But in defense of the sculptor it is difficult to do using a few photos of the deceased. It is a challenge to work from photos even if you have dozens of them from many directions (lighting can deceive and alter the true features).
Also there is the budget to consider. How much he was paid would determine how much time he could spend on it and so affect the detail and likeness.

Chris_Johns 10-09-2015 12:16 PM

Re: The "I Love Lucy" bronze
Getting a god likeness is one thing but I think it's fair to expect a sculptor to be able to achieve something which at least looks like a human being.

Similarly if you take a commission to make a statue of a particular person for a public place I think it's extremely unwise to get too 'experimental'. Even more importantly once you've agreed a fee it's not very professional to just give up once you feel you have done your allocated hours, I mean seriously...get the actual face right first and be a bit more abstract with the rest of the figure if you're short of time and to be honest this doesn't look like a case of lack of time. In fact it looks like there has been a fair but more finishing and smoothing of the model than is necessarily the case with modern statuary.

After all if you're getting something cast in bronze the foundry costs and materials are a pretty big chunk of the budget.

Art-Deco 10-09-2015 03:27 PM

Re: The "I Love Lucy" bronze
I'm with you Raspero!
You never know who was on the selection committee or who had connections to whom.

The thing is Mantrid- that Mrs Ball is extremely famous and well known, there's shiploads of photos and films of her, as well as documentaries done off the Hollywood set. There's images of her from every possible direction you can think of, I really do not think it would be at all difficult to find a dozen good photos from every angle very quickly. That may be in contrast to a figure such as Daniel Webster or some well known but not often photographed person.

The 2nd photo is almost scary, no I take that back, it looks like something made for a Halloween event, the first thing I see are those teeth, set on a scowling face and she has this bottle in her hand and a spoon in the other and it's like she's coming at you in almost a threatening way, screaming a: "DRINK THIS NOW!!!!!"

The whole thing is unsettling, no wonder so many hate it and want it replaced.

There's a number of problems with the face portrait, but the lips are all wrong and the eyes and eyebrows as well, Dave Poulin was trying to copy that classic scene in the show, but the eyes and eyebrows on the sculpture in no way have a "surprised" wide eyed look as Mrs Ball is depicted.

The dress and it's creases and folds is not bad but it has an amateurish look to the way it was executed, with the creases and folds almost being an afterthought. I have seen some seriously good, very realistic drapery carved in stone even and the effect was the drapery covering the figure had an almost transparent look to it, with more definition of the body under it. Of course Mrs Ball's dress had more substance and weight to the fabric which blunts such creases and folds you'd see more in thinner fabric, but it still doesn't have the right "feel."

This is a case where when drapery with it's folds and creases is well done- you take away the feeling the figure is alive underneath the clothing, you don't get that sense with this sculpture, it has a rubbery "Play-Doh" appearance to the body itself.

I've seen the portraits of really talented sculptors who accurately portrayed a person who was already deceased and it looked just like the person in the photos, I believe we have one here who did a larger than life bronze of a well dressed gentleman who was if memory serves me- the founder of some town in California and they wanted the bronze in a park.
I remember how well that bronze looked when it was done, Celoron should have commissioned that sculptor to do the model!

Just at random, here's a bronze sculpture of George Washington Carver by the late Christian Peterson, his style on this is interesting, it has a sculpted texture and looks very lifelife. Peterson was unique in that he was a full time sculptor at the University of Iowa in Ames and during his years there he created all of the various sculptures, fountain and murals around the campus in stone, bronze and terracotta. There is an excellent book about him that I bought.

Art-Deco 10-09-2015 03:41 PM

Re: The "I Love Lucy" bronze
Here's a much better closeup of the face:

And her hair:

A little more of the story with comments by the sculptor:

This is the new sculptor chosen to replace the work, now THIS lady has done some extremely good bronzes depicted on her web site, the new Lucy bronze should turn out great:

This explains a lot:

Jamestown artist Dave Poulin created the sculpture for Celoron couple Jetta and Mark Wilson as part of a private real estate transaction. They made arrangements to donate it to the village.
Construction work was done to create a pad for the statue, and a stone plaque was made to commemorate the occasion.
But the Wilsons, and everyone else in the village, had not seen it until the unveiling ceremony on Aug. 7, 2009.

A couple of dozen people were in attendance as a sheet was lifted off the statue.
“Everyone ... clapped,” recalled Shirley Sanfilippo, the clerk and treasurer of the town. She saw from the Wilsons faces that they weren’t happy.
“They were disappointed,” Sanfilippo said.

The former mayor, and later, Schrecengost, talked to Poulin, who had been contacted over the years about fixing the statue.
Poulin apparently wanted between $8,000 to $10,000 to fix it, according to Schrecengost. The village didn’t want to spend any tax money on the project. Poulin also suggested they put it in storage.

rika 10-10-2015 10:26 PM

Re: The "I Love Lucy" bronze
She resembles a monster rather than a human being indeed. Put her into a haunted castle and call her Francinestein. To his credit, the sculptor has acknowledged the statue is a failure. Wonder if this fiasco is hurting his business at all, because it is obvious that it is business that is driving his sculpting...

Thanks Art-Deco for the closeups, I never saw the details before, and they are scary.

Nelson 10-11-2015 12:57 AM

Re: The "I Love Lucy" bronze

Originally Posted by rika (Post 106737)
She resembles a monster rather than a human being indeed. Put her into a haunted castle and call her Francinestein. To his credit, the sculptor has acknowledged the statue is a failure. Wonder if this fiasco is hurting his business at all, because it is obvious that it is business that is driving his sculpting...

Thanks Art-Deco for the closeups, I never saw the details before, and they are scary.

Judging from the work, that artist doesnŽt know any better. Worse yet are the people involved in choosing the sculptor, and must say they really have guts having allowed to install that crap in the park.... that said, IŽd propose Rika to mend the mess... :D

rika 10-12-2015 10:44 AM

Re: The "I Love Lucy" bronze
No, Nelson, I am not a realist. But there are others, even in this small community, our forum, who would have done a fine job at it. I am thinking of Alfred; the public would have been very happy with his work for sure.

Nelson 10-13-2015 07:44 PM

Re: The "I Love Lucy" bronze
I know, I was just kidding, but still, you would have done a great job in comparion at least. :)

raspero 10-14-2015 05:34 PM

Re: The "I Love Lucy" bronze
Better to just junk the whole idea of Lucy and erect "The Probe" in its place. Now that's art.


rika 12-30-2015 08:00 AM

Re: The "I Love Lucy" bronze
What an idea, Richard! :cool:
I must say that this sculpture had an interesting effect on me, as I was doing a commissioned piece at the time, and had to deal with some specific issues related to negotiating my vision versus the client's and finding common ground in a way that neither side had to make compromises.

Here is my blog post about it if anyone is interested.

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