In Wolf Point, where I was born August 25,  1934 I devoted every available moment of  my youth to drawing, painting, and working  with horses. This intense interest in animals,  particularly horses, developed into an  obsession and it was only after several  years of ranch work, breaking and training  hoses, that a stint in the Unites Army broke  this strong environmental mold and drove  me to pursue seriously an art education.

floyd5Prior to entering the army, I had thought of  myself as a kind of “Cowboy artist’. I had  done a lot of western painting, a few large  commissions as well as some commercial  illustrating. As a result, I had developed a  certain facility and self-confidence which  while serving in Germany enabled me to  execute a life-sized battalion-monument for  the U.S. army. As I served the army in the  unusual capacity of sculptor, there was  ample opportunity for me to question and  be questioned by a variety of people, some  of whom encouraged me to continue in art  and to broaden my visual and mental  horizons.

Upon leaving the military in 1956, I returned  temporarily to Montana where I worked as  a bartender, a city policeman, and at various  other occupations until I entered the  Minneapolis School of Art in 1957, where I  remained for period of two and half years.  While attending that art school I worked under David Ratner, Paul Granlund, Daniel  Soderland, and the Austrailian sculptor Bob  Klippel. The diverse influences of each of  these four artists made it clear to me that  art was an incredibly complicated field and  that I had a great deal to learn. During this period, the sculptor Granlund had the most  profound influence on my work. It was  through him that I first began to see that life  and sculpture involved not only infinite  possibilities, but limitations as well, and that  these limitations could be a strength rather  than a weakness. I became aware of  personal values and motives of my own and  to more full7 examine these values; it  became necessary for me to escape the  ‘action-packed’, theory-ridden system of art  education prevailing in America at that time.

floydMahlerI returned to Europe in January 1961, and  enrolled in the Rijksacademie van  Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, Holland.  I continued there on a full tuition scholarship  for six years, working under the supervision  of the Dutch sculptor, V.P. Semeijn Esser,  and regularly participating in exhibitions. At  the Royal Academy of Fine Art, the emphasis was  placed on hard work and the classrooms  were large studios. Sculpture was the  subject, and sweat-soaked, clay-covered  clothes were the uniforms. Students were  required to work out their problems, talk  was cheap, and it was there I learned that sculpture is in itself a language-the silent  language of form!

At the end of six years of work at the Academy, the transition from student to  sculptor presented few if any difficulties.  Somewhere along the line I had, without  realizing, become a sculptor. Aside from the  fact that I began to work in my own studio,  this transition period was a relatively simple  matter of continuing the daily task of making  sculpture. Although sculpture subscribes to  many definitions, in my opinion it’s most  profound function and most significant strength lies within the fundamental limits  of the monument. While developing my own  work, I endeavor to draw from both inner  and outer sources an objective synthesis  which pays tribute to man’s lofty ideals as  well as to his macabre side. I attempt to  infuse my sculpture with a certain  monumental quality and an inner need to  identify with image of the horse becomes  an obvious dominating characteristic of my  work. The scale of my expression ranges  from joy to despair and techniques vary in  accordance. Since I am essentially a  modeler I work with clay, wax and the  oxyacetylene technique.

BIOGRAPHY

Through his art Floyd Tenneson DeWitt has  reconciled America’s diverse European  heritage and its remarkable Western culture  with his commitment to excellence in the  sculptural form. He uses fine art to blend  metaphor and myth with artistic knowledge  to express the transforming power of the  human spirit.

United States

Born in Wolf Point, Montana, 1934, DeWitt  is intimately familiar with the land that the  Indians roamed and that his father later  homesteaded. In his youth, Floyd DeWitt  aspired to be a cowboy artist, emulating the  work of C.M. Russell and Frederick  Remington. His love of the West was never  forgotten but rather it developed dimension  and quality when DeWitt attended the  Minneapolis School of Art. Formal art  education opened his mind and broadened  his horizons, reflecting his desire to grow in  knowledge and understanding not only as  a sculptor but as a man. Reaching deep  within, the young artist became fascinated  with contemporary sculpture and immersed  him-self in this new direction.

Europe

In 1960, DeWitt received a full six-year  scholarship to study at the prestigious 400-year-old Royal Academy of Fine Art  (Rijksakademie voor Beeldende Kunsten)  in Amsterdam, Holland. He worked under  the guidance of the Dutch sculptor V.P.S. Esser. During this period, DeWitt made the  transition from student to sculptor. For the  next twenty-five years he refined his skills  as an artist in Europe where he retains a  respected reputation as a professional  sculptor.

As an artist, DeWitt is known in Europe for  his knowledge and execution of the human  figure, animals and mythological  compositions. His work is highly regarded  and he has received numerous commissions  which are now permanent works in parks  and public buildings throughout Europe. He  was honored in 1994 in the Dutch book  “The  Guide to Public Sculpture throughout  the Netherlands” where he was recognized  as the most important contributor to equine  sculpture in the history of the Netherlands.

United States

The artist returned to the United States in  1984 and moved back to his native Montana.  He continued actively to produce fine art,  as evidenced by the largest one man show  in the history of Montana, held at the Holter  Museum of Art in Helena in 1991. This  exhibition paid tribute to DeWitt as a world  class sculptor. DeWitt exhibited over 150  pieces, includi ng eighty sculptures and his  effort was well received by both the general  public and professional artist.