Robert Graham (1938- ) was born in Mexico City. At age 10 he moved to San Jose, California. After receiving his B.A. from San Jose State in 1963 and a degree from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1964, he achieved notoriety in pop art circles by making small wax nude figures in plexiglas boxes. Beginning in the early 1970s, he started casting anatomically accurate and detailed female nudes in bronze. This distinctively realistic quality can be seen in the four nudes he cast for fountains inside the atrium designed by Lawrence Halprin at the Wells Fargo Center (333 S. Grand Avenue). Graham and Halprin later collaborated with a proposal for a Holocaust Memorial, which was not executed,(1) and with the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, which was dedicated in 1997.(2) In addition to numerous one-man and group shows, Graham's work is found in the collections of many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney in New York City, the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Art. He has also completed several highly visible public art installations, included the Olympic Gateway at the Los Angeles Coliseum and a memorial to Joe Louis in Detroit. In 1998, he received an important commission from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for the bronze doors at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
Footnotes:1. "Lawrence Halprin, Changing Places," p. 147.
2 "The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial," by Phyllis Tuchman, "Lawrence Halprin, Changing Places," pp. 90-103.
The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, January 1999.
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