Theme/Style – Western, animal figures
Media – Sculpture in bronze, concrete and wood
Artistic Focus – Alice Robertson Carr de Creeft was a sculptor whose skill in crafting animals stemmed from her familiarity with them in their natural habitat, while growing up in the American West. Her particular focus was horses, but she was equally adept at depicting other animals in the western and rodeo genre; and her power and skill is evidenced by the high regard in which her work was held by ranchers and others who were truly connected with the strength and nobility of the animals she rendered.
Career Highlights –
- Born Alice Robertson Carr in Roanoke, Virginia in 1899, Carr grew up on a homestead in Sun River Valley, Montana, where she spent much of her youth in the outdoors riding horses. They would be the subjects of her first sculptures in clay from the bank of a pond; and she was taken as a child prodigy to the studio of Charles Marion Russell.
- As a teenager, Carr moved with her parents to Seattle, Washington, and after high school she attended the Art Students League in New York between 1919 and 1920, where she studied drawing under George Bridgman and sculpture with Alexander Stirling Calder.
- Carr’s first exhibition was held at New York’s Studio Club in 1920, where she won an honorary award for one of her sculptures. Carr went on to study at the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois in 1922 and 1923, after which she returned to Seattle.
- Carr’s first public sculpture commission was a panoramic cast-concrete relief for Seattle’s Rose Garden Society, installed in 1924.
- Carr’s next commission, in 1925, was a memorial erected in Seattle’s Woodland Park where President Warren G. Harding gave a speech to the Boy Scout jamboree in 1923, one of the last before his death. The memorial included a cast-concrete 25-foot-long relief, flanked by two bronze statues of Boy Scouts. Around 1980 the large relief was demolished by the city, but the statues were preserved and donated to the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts; one is at the council’s Camp Parsons in Brinnon, WA, and the other is at the council’s building in Seattle.
- Carr lived in Paris from 1926 to 1929, where she studied at the Grande Chaumière and École des Animalieres, and exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1927. While in Europe Carr learned printmaking from Stanley William Hayter, and studied direct carving with José de Creeft.
- Carr married de Creeft in 1928, after which she went by the name Alice Carr de Creeft. The couple divided their time between the Spanish island of Mallorca and New York, ultimately settling in Santa Barbara, CA around 1937.
- de Creeft remained in Santa Barbara, where she raised two children from her nine-year marriage and continued her career as a sculptor, exhibiting with the Santa Barbara Art League in 1939.
- Also in the late 1930s, she modeled statues of bulls for various Santa Barbara County ranchers, and exhibited a bas-relief of a Native American and a colt.
- An Arabian stallion named Zamal, which de Creeft saw at a ranch in San Simeon in 1960, became her inspiration to complete numerous sculpture commissions of horses, including the Triple-Crown-winning Secretariat in 1973.
- Carr taught at the Santa Barbara Art Institute during the 1970s, and during her career she exhibited with Artists of the Pacific Northwest, Seattle; Artists of Los Angeles and Vicinity; at the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona; and others. Her work is in the collections of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Pollença Museum, Mallorca, Spain, among others.
- Alice Carr de Creeft passed away in Santa Barbara in 1996.