"Here in the virtual wilderness is the sophistication one hopes to find in cultural centers. In Dewitt's work lies the true spirit of the transformation of nature in art."

Russell Chatham, Painter

“A rare and wonderful combination of power, intelligence, light and beauty; He is destined to glory.”

Peter Fonda, Actor

“An authentic master of the fine arts; DeWitt is the only artist born in the American West who has accepted western civilization’s entire artistic reach as his legitimate country.”

Harry Jackson, Sculptor

Arrow
Arrow
Slider

Jan Teeuwisse

Head art historian and chief conservator of contemporary art, employed by the National Bureay of Art History Documentation, located in The Hague, the Netherlands

Sculpture Guide of the Netherlands

(Translation of page 117 D19.)

Three Donkeys (The Family) 1970

Authentic equestrian sculptors did not really exist in the Netherlands until the late 1950’s. The most well known among the sculptors who actually gave birth to this activity were the [Dutch] sculptors Arthur Spronken and Eric Claus. However, a variety of others also attempted the previously ignored tradition of equestrian sculpture. Fons Bemelmans, Auke Hettema, Frank Letterie, Felix van der Linden, Theresia van der Pant, Pieter Starreveld, Gabriel Sterk, Ek van Zanten to name but a few.

Notably, one of the most outstanding sculptors working with the horse at this time, unfortunately for an all too short a period, was the American sculptor Floyd DeWitt, the cowboy among the Dutch sculptors. DeWitt was born in the western part of the United States, Montana. Prior to becoming an artist, his background experience included the colorful occupation of bartender and small town policeman. He later trained horses periodically and finally began his career in art by creating a monument for the United States Army while stationed in Germany. His formal art education began at the Minneapolis School of Art in Minneapolis, Minnesota and culminated in the Netherlands at one of Holland’s most prestigious institutions, the National Academy of Fine arts in Amsterdam, where he worked un the highly regarded Dutch sculptor professor V.P.S. Esser. In the 1960’s immediately following the completion of his studies, DeWitt received a variety of public commissions, included among them were works in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Schalkhaar, and Zwolle.

Although for all practical purposes the subject of our attention is the horse in Dutch sculpture, it is not without irony that perhaps one of the finest public works left in the Netherlands by the sculptor Floyd DeWitt is his group of donkeys titles ‘The Family’ in the vicinity of the former Donkey dike (now Huizingalaan) in Utrecht.

DeWitt is a virtuoso modeler. He bases his work on a unique experience and refinded knowledge of his subjects. His manner reveals a deep respect for the work of the French artist Degas.

1994

Dr. D. Hannema

Founder and former director of the Boymans-van Beningen Museum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands Former curator and director of the Museum, Castle ‘t Nijenhuis in the Netherlands

The quality of DeWitt’s work, in my opinion, is characterized by a consistent level of artistic excellence found only in masters of sculpture. His work is creative, strong and refined. His oeuvre is varied. Allegorical interpretations of portraits, animals, and mythological and biblical subject matter are rendered in a very subtle manipulation of abstract form. Preferring to work within the subdued and hallowed character of the monument, his dramatic play of tension is contrasted, and often alleviated, b a very lofty monumentality. This expression results in a rather unique catxharsis: a prophetic anthology, both apprehensive and enigmatic. The explosive energy and intense optimism of Pegasus in Flight, purchased in 1980, should be seen in the same light as the more refined Inheritors, and the sensitive yet ‘monumental’ portraits, as an example of his blend.

In the welded works, Pegasus in Flight, and Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a peculiar metamorphosis occurs. Here we have an example of a cynical, mystical aberration that explores the somber, rather macabre side of DeWitt’s personality. In their silence, drama and irrational foreboding are revealed.

The force of the DeWitt collection comes from the harmonious blend of knowledge related to the subject, fused with the universality of human experience. The fascination lies in the play between his emotions and métier, resulting in the unforeseen detour. A product of a European-American experience, DeWitt brings to mind the words of the American poet-philosopher, George Santayana, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’

In conclusion, I prefer to define DeWitt as a classicist. His more than twenty years in Europe, including training at our Royal Academy, have provided him, I think, with a rare sanctuary from which to observe and comment on a cast of variety of truths. The mainstream of his art lies within the realm of the enduring subtlety, not the temporary fad. I gratefully welcome his attempts to add new elements to the concepts of twentieth-century modern sculpture. In his own words, ‘…my sculptures are never finished, with more information I simply begin all over again.’

Hans Redeker

The author of numerous publications on the subjects of the Fine Arts, Architecture and Philosophy His most important books include Existentialism (1949) and The Crisis of the Artist (1950). He is the former art editor of a leading Dutch newspaper

Among the present generation, Floyd DeWitt is a typical example of the young American artist temporarily leaving the country of his birth to seek artistic and spiritual nourishment at the font of western art – the ancient continent of Europe. He is among a group of young expatriates who have sought to digest the whole of the European art tradition from Classicism to Expressionism. That DeWitt has accomplished this feat is evident in the motifs of biblical and classical mythology that tie in with his lifelong passion for horses, or rather the relation between horses and men. Notably DeWitt’s strong character, shaped by his Montana childhood, has enabled him during his stay in Europe to gather a wealth of experience both as an artist and as in individual without ever having to deny his American background.

DeWitt is too dynamic an artist – both as a draughtsman and as a modeler – to be categorized simply as a classicist sculptor. The expressiveness of his surface textures and the rhythmic tensions of his compositions exploit the full three-dimensionality of light and space. Within a great tradition DeWitt stands out as an innovator in that he endows all his works, including the portraits, with an inner significance that transcends by far the individuality of the subject, even without the obvious symbolism that is embodied in a Pegasus.

Floyd DeWitt is among the most inspired, the most authentic and the most singular of the artists it has been my privilege to meet in the course of my career as an art critic. Singular, but without the slightest trace of trendiness or fashionable modernism, he is unshakably himself. He is one of those who represent the hope of a new generation that has liberated itself from the compulsive commercialism that contaminates so much of contemporary art today.

Whether in the intimacy of a portrait or in the monumentality of his larger bronzes, the art of Floyd DeWitt invariably employs only the purest means of sculptural expression.

Bernard J. Peiser

Former Chairman Cultural Department of the City of Utrecht Secretary of Utrecht Municipal Fine Arts Committee

The City of Utrecht, in the Netherlands, has commissioned Floyd T. DeWitt three times to create major monuments for our community and has purchased several of his smaller bronze models as well. I have been instrumental in dealing with DeWitt on these occasions. Although he has often exhibited at various galleries, DeWitt prefers personal showings at his studio or exhibitions designed and organized by municipalities such as ours.

Within my experience, Floyd DeWitt’s primary concerns are with the quality of the art and not with commercial or fashionable trends. A stubborn persistent type of individualist, he labors long and tenaciously at his work, often referring to sculpture as his religion. The entirety and general quality of his work radiate a highly refined and informed perception. DeWitt regularly works with models; however, he predominately works from within his imagination, continually refining and reforming in an effort to discover the intrinsic values f both the subject and the material at hand. Although he has already attained a high degree of excellence, it is my conviction that DeWitt will approach a still more significant maturity in the future which will be most interesting to follow.

The commissioners of the Cultural Department of Utrecht requested DeWitt, in 1968, to create a monument to honor our city. The monument was to be placed at the side of the former Donkey Dike. The City’s progress had well nigh erased all the evidence of donkeys pulling cargo back and forth on the canal from the tow-path on the dike. DeWitt’s monument has succeeded in recapturing and preserving a sense of this heritage. His composition, entitled ‘The Family, depicts three life-size donkeys clustered together in intimate proximity. More than a photographic image, the bronze monument provides a symbol of the Donkey Dike, and of the family, that is universal.

Pegasus in Flight, a welded steel composition, was commissioned in 1972. This unique figurative mobile represents Pegasus, a flying horse that in ancient Greece symbolized the romantic flight of fantasy, a poetic interpretation of ideal beauty and harmony. DeWitt’s interpretation incorporates a more contemporary view. His rendition represents an emaciated, terrified, violated Pegasus. This unusual concept of Pegasus in Flight presently hangs in the lobby of the municipal theater in Utrecht.

A number of bronze portraits of famous composers [have been commissioned by the city from noted sculptors. These pieces have been permanently placed in our new modern Utrecht Music Center. Floyd DeWitt’s twentieth century composer Gustav Mahler is an integral component of this project. DeWitt’s commissions have been carried out to the complete satisfaction of our commissioners and the Utrecht Cultural Department]. […his works of art are welcomed now and will be by generations to come.]

Wim van Schaik

Patron of the Arts

Approximately [40] years ago an exhibition of painters, draughts men, etchers and sculptors was held in Ouderkerk-aan-de-Amstel in the Netherlands. This village, located in the vicinity of Amsterdam, has a long history. Ouderkerk contains a large and well-known building called ‘Paardenburg’, which means ‘Fortress of the Horse’, established in the year 1700. It was in keeping with tradition when its owner, a man with an eye for the arts, organized an exhibition entitled The Horse in the Fortress of the Horse. For this event many well known and unknown artists, whose work dealt with the subject of The Horse, were invited.

Upon visiting the exhibition and viewing the hundreds of works by various artists, a small sculpture struck me because of its purity and sharp observation of the relationship between horse and rider. It appeared to be the work of a young artist who was then still studying at the famous Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam. His was at that time a completely unknown name. This work captivated me to such a degree that I bought it. I consider it one of my very finest art acquisitions.

I have continued to follow Floyd DeWitt’s career with interest. In his subsequent sculpture I have repeatedly witnessed his ability to abstract the essence of the subject. This mastery of technique and vision is reflected in his numerous sculptures of animals and in his portraits as well. His portraits are not only good likenesses but, more importantly, they reach into the being of the specific person and touch the inner life of the individual.

For this reason I have, over the course of years, purchased many more DeWitt sculptures. Our family enjoys them greatly; I am convinced that Floyd DeWitt’s work will be admired through generations to come. His sculpture stands apart from fashion and is timeless.

Dr. H. G. Advokaat

Former Chairman, AMRO Bank Fine Arts Foundation Former Chairman, Association of Amsterdam Bankers Member, Board of Directors of The Netherlands National Concert building Former Member, Board of Directors of the Netherlands National Ballet Former, Chairman, Board of Trustees of the National Foundation for the Preservation of Architectural Monuments

In 1976, Mr. J.R.M. van den Brink, a former Dutch minister of Economic Affair s and previous chairman of the Board of the Amsterdam-Rotterdam (AMRO) Bank Inc., first took the initiative to introduce Fine Art to our bank and to our clients. Since, then, with substantial annual funding by the Bank, the AMBRO Art Foundation has emerged as one of the largest private collections of contemporary Fine Art in Europe. The ambiance of the buildings of the AMBO Bank and its affiliates has been greatly enhanced through the selective acquisition of a large variety of drawings, paintings and sculpture.

The hard-and-fast rule behind or policy regarding selection has been the Foundation’s contention the art work be chosen for its personal integrity and individual expression. We have carefully selected works of art that demonstrate indelible craftsmanship and address our deepest emotions. Through the creative use of color, composition and the elegant or sensual use of material, our artist have risen to a level of quality that goes beyond the transitory fashions of many art institutions today7. The Foundation enables an exclusive type of artistic expression to be brought, through our various bank branches to a larger public, by way of this unique assemblage of Fine Art.

The artists represented by the Bank are successful mature artist. They are without exception cultivated individualists who have been widely exhibited in both celebrated private collections and various important museums throughout the world.

Within this context, the work of the American sculptor Floyd T. DeWitt has been chosen to join our increasingly well-known collection. We of the AMBO Bank feel fortunate with our purchase of DeWitt sculptures. I myself am confident that they will generate much interest and add to the overall cultural climate in and around the affiliated branches of the Amsterdam-Rotterdam Bank, Inc.

Stanley G. West

Author of Amos

“Into his material, DeWitt insinuates hints and glimmers and faint whispers of the mystery behind life...”

Alston Chase

Syndicated Columnist

“His eye records more than the surface of things. His works seems to combine an American’s love of nature with a European’s sense of fragile humanity.”

David M. Ranter

Professor Emeritus, Boston University

“The visual poetry that marks the difference between competency and art; DeWitt is one of America’s greatest sculptors.”

Ted Schwinden

Former Montana Governor

“An outstanding sculptor.”

Russell Chatham

Painter

“Here in the virtual wilderness, is the sophistication one hopes to find in cultural centers. In DeWitt’s work lies the true spirit of the transformation of nature in art.”

Harry Jackson

Sculptor

“An authentic master of the fine arts; DeWitt is the only artist born in the American West who has accepted western civilization’s entire artistic reach as his legitimate country.”

Peter Fonda

Actor

“A rare and wonderful combination of power, intelligence, light and beauty; He is destined to glory.”

David M. Salay

Director Museum of the Rockies

“One of the rare Montanans with whom we are blessed; He has transformed classical sculpture into a unique twentieth century art form.”

Bob Raney

Montana State Representative

“His work is not a photograph of nature, but rather an expression of nature.”

Pat Williams

U.S. Representative, Montana

“From Floyd DeWitt’s pieces flow strength, vigor, energy and, yet more than a touch of gentle poignancy.

Carola van den Hauten

Director Modern Art Consultants, New York

“His sculpture has powerful form and dynamic life force. I find it sensitive and moving.”

Rudolf Svehla

Painter

“Portraits of various people, in clay and bronze, images of beasts of burden are elevated by the use of mythology. I was impressed with the professional and highly skilled work created by Floyd DeWitt.”