Deborah Butterfield is one of the twenty-three women artists represented on Public Art Walk Boston. Her sculpture “Henry and Paint” is situated outside Copley Place.
Visiting Henry and Paint through successive seasons of 2017, I saw them as distinct individuals bonded by their survival of changed surroundings. Since 1987, the two bronze beings must have stood through numerous weather extremes. They seem prepared for more to come.
Deborah Butterfield had created many horse sculptures before them, and she has continued to do so ever since. With this seemingly narrow focus, she has developed an impressively deep, diverse, and distinctive range of work that is wonderfully worth viewing in the online resources listed below. I hope now to visit more of her sculptures but to keep going back to Henry and Paint also.
Henry, Paint, Plants, Lights
Henry and Paint stand near the entrance to the Texas-based department store, Neiman Marcus. “In 1907, two competing department store owners, Herbert Marcus Sr. and A. Harris, teamed up to open a new department store in Dallas. The horses evoke both the Texan landscape and the retailers’ partnership.” (quote from description in Public Art Walk Boston)
“Although Butterfield thinks of many of her horse sculptures as self-portraits, she also sees them as symbols of our relationships to nature and the animal world around us.” (quote from MMoCA Collects)
“Deborah Butterfield first began creating sculpture in the form of a horse in the 1970’s using mud, clay and sticks. In 1977, she moved to a ranch in Montana and in 1979 began using scrap metal and found steel. For the past decade, she has been making bronze work, cast from “stray, downed pieces of wood.” … These models or “ghosts” (as the artist refers to them) are then cast, burning the wood away with molten bronze, creating one, unique sculpture to which she then methodically, expertly applies her patina.” (quote about process from Danese/Corey Gallery )