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Winter view with snow
Image
Courtesy Walker Art Center
Winter view with snow Image Rights
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gallery view in summer
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Courtesy Walker Art Center
gallery view in summer Image Rights
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Caption
Winter view with snow
Image
Courtesy Walker Art Center
Rights
Art © Deborah Butterfield/VAGA, New York, NY

Copyright

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Title
Woodrow
Date
1988
Dimensions
without base 99 × 105 × 74 inches
Materials
bronze
Location
On view at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Object Details

Type
Sculpture
Accession Number
1988.375
Inscriptions
N.A.; N.A.
Physical Description
Horse constructed of bronze sticks and branches
Credit Line
Gift of Harriet and Edson W. Spencer, 1988

artwork entry Deborah Butterfield, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, 1998

Deborah Butterfield, who owns, rides, and trains horses on her ranch in Montana, has likened the act of “building” a horse through training to the creative process of building her sculptures. Since the early 1970s, Butterfield has been creating magnificently observed, highly individualized horses from a diversity of found materials—fragments of wood, wire, scrap metal, mud, brick dust, and straw. Woodrow is something of a technical tour de force. Butterfield took a selection of sticks, tree branches, and bark, cast each element individually in bronze, and then assembled and welded the pieces together to create the stately beast. Each element was then patinated to create the look of the original sticks and branches. The trompe l'oeil effect is so convincing that many visitors to the Garden believe the piece is actually made of wood.

Jenkins, Janet, ed. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Minneapolis, MN: Walker Art Center, 1998, no. 13.

© 1998 Walker Art Center

curriculum resource Deborah Butterfield, Woodrow (1988) Walker Art Center, 1998

“In the 1970s I made horses out of real mud and sticks. They were, in part, meant to reflect how much a horse is part of his environment–I combined the figure and the ground.”–Deborah Butterfield

Deborah Butterfield’s remarkable interpretations of horses are constructed from such materials as crushed metal, wire, mud, straw, and fragments of wood. The sculptor has several horses of her own on a ranch in Montana, where she studies their movements and form carefully. Unlike Marino Marini’s sculpture Cavaliere (Horseman) (circa 1949), in which the horse is portrayed as a stylized creature, Butterfield’s sculptures are portraits of individual animals. For Woodrow, the artist took a selection of sticks, tree branches, and bark that she cast in bronze, then assembled and welded the pieces together into the form of a horse. Even though Butterfield’s sculpture is made of many fragments, its spare and elegant structure is very lifelike. Woodrow blends easily with the natural setting of the Garden because the artist patinated (colored) the bronze branches and twigs, making them look like natural wood.

Text for Deborah Butterfield, Woodrow (1988), from the curriculum guide The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden: A Garden for All Seasons, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1998.

Copyright 1998 Walker Art Center

curriculum resource Deborah Butterfield, Woodrow (1988) Walker Art Center, 2002

“In the 1970s I made horses out of real mud and sticks. They were, in part, meant to reflect how much a horse is part of his environment–I combined the figure and the ground.”–Deborah Butterfield

Deborah Butterfield’s remarkable interpretations of horses are constructed from such materials as crushed metal, wire, mud, straw, and fragments of wood. The sculptor has several horses of her own on a ranch in Montana, where she studies their movements and form carefully. Butterfield’s sculptures are portraits of individual animals. For Woodrow, the artist took a selection of sticks, tree branches, and bark that she cast in bronze, then assembled and welded the pieces together into the form of a horse. Even though Butterfield’s sculpture is made of many fragments, its spare and elegant structure is very lifelike. Woodrow blends easily with the natural setting of the Garden because the artist patinated (colored) the bronze branches and twigs, making them look like natural wood.

Text for Deborah Butterfield, Woodrow (1988), from the curriculum guide So, Why Is This Art?, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2002.

Copyright 2002 Walker Art Center