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Richard Light is working on wax version of Olivier Messiaen

Richard Light

Richard Light is a fine art bronze sculptor and park designer who has won numerous design awards including the bronze medal at the Salon de la Société des Artistes Français, the largest art show in France. He has designed parks, public spaces and monuments for cities and private organizations ranging from Kalamazoo, Michigan to the Comité Pour le Monument Pour Albert Einstein in Paris, France. His sculptures are owned by private collectors, corporations, municipalities and museums around the world including the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the American National Bank in Chicago.

Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Richard Light learned to draw at a very early age, and has pursued this ever since. His first interest in art professionally, however, was in theater, doing both set and lighting design at Yale University, the Saugatuck Red Barn Theater, and the Kalamazoo Civic Theater.

He later returned to drawing and sculpture. Perhaps it was the influence of his father, a brain surgeon who earned his M.D. from the University of Michigan, that led him in this direction. Using experiences obtained at Yale in the history of art, he studied figure sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Scottsdale Artist’s School, the School of the Kalamazoo Institute of Art, and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. Studies were interspersed with trips to France, Italy, England, and Germany.

Light frequently executes figurative pieces on commission, both human and animal, for municipalities, churches, foundations, and individuals. Light’s figures are described as classical, since they draw their inspiration from the earliest examples—Greek, Roman, Renaissance, and sometimes even from early European cave paintings.

He recently finished a portrait bust of composer Olivier Messiaen and in 2016 will begin work on a portrait of Swedish businessman and humanitarian Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Jews in Hungary during World War II. Other recent figurative busts include a young Albert Einstein and artist Marc Chagall, both for installation in Paris, France.

His landmark series, the Women of Industry, is based on the human form but is more abstract. These bronze figures do not employ models. Instead, following the lead of Cézanne and then Picasso, they are derived from geometric forms: circles, ovals, spheres, hemispheres, and arcs. In 2005, a large version of Clock I of the Women of Industry series won the bronze medal at the Salon de la Société des Artistes Français, the largest art show in France.

Light holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.A. from Northern Illinois University. His studio is located in the Park Trades Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

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