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Gallery of Images of Warner Williams' Work  --  Articles About Warner Williams

Chicago Sculptor to Exhibit Work and Explain Art to Academy Corps - The Culver Citizen, August, 1930.

Warner Williams

An exhibition of sculpture by C. Warner Williams will open at the Culver Memorial Building on Saturday afternoon, August 16th. Culver Summer School is sponsoring this exhibit by the young Chicago sculptor, who was formerly of Indianapolis.

Mr. Williams has recently completed two years of study with Allien Polasek at the Art Institute of Chicago, made possible by a tuition scholarship to the Art Institute award to Mr. Williams by the Daughters of Indiana the last two years.

Previous to coming to Chicago in 1928 Mr. Williams finished in 1926 at John Herron Art Institute where he studied under Myra Reynolds Richards. He has served as Art Director of the Columbia Club in Indianapolis.

He has modeled portraits of many prominent people in that city and Indiana.

He is originally a Kentuckian, three years a student at Berea College, Kentucky, but is known as the Hoosier Sculptor, partly because he was exhibited annually at the Hoosier Salon, where he has been twice a prize winner. He has also exhibited several years at Art Institute at Indianapolis and the Indiana State Fair, where he is an outstanding prize winner in sculpture.

In Chicago he has also exhibited in the Women's City Club, Chicago Art Institute, Hoosier Gallery, Women's Club Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern University, Georgian Hotel, Gary College Club, North End Club Chicago, Thurlier Galleries, etc., and at the recent exhibition of childrens' portraits sponsored by the Health Exhibition at which he won the first sculpture prize awarded by a popular vote of six thousand.

Mr. Williams is a very serious worker and has executed some 75 portrait commissions in the past five years.

Mr. Williams will be remembered by some Culver people as having spent the summer of 1928 here, where he modeled portraits of several persons, among them being Susanna Stewart, granddaughter of Mrs. Clemens Vonnegut and young Milford Hall Davis, small son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul H. Davis. Both of these portraits will be part of the exhibit which numbers about twenty-five bas relief heads, five full-length bas-reliefs, five heads in the round, some small figures, and a life size figure in the round.

Bas Relief

The latter is a commission completed only last month, of the small son of Carol Shaffer, grandson of Mrs. John Shaffer of Indianapolis. This life-size portrait in the round of the small boy will serve as a fountain figure in the garden of Carroll Shaffer's new home in Winnetka, Illinois.

While in Culver he will give several exhibitions of modeling and will address the various schools on sculpture and select a boy from each school of whom to make a sketch in clay to show them something of how sculpture is made.

Below is the text of a Culver Citizen feature about Williams from Dec. 29, 1976:

Warner Williams, CMA Artist, Retiring -Unknown source, 18 May, 1968

 The faculty of Culver Military Academy will attend a recogni­tion banquet Monday in honor of Warner Williams, artist-in-­residence, who is retiring after 28 years of service.

 Williams created both the Indiana Sesquicentennial Medallion and the medal marking the fiftieth running of the Indianapolis 500. Sales of these medals have surpasses the $500,000 mark. Although he seldom enters competitions, he was invited and paid for his entry in the Sesquicentennial Medallion competition. He enters most of his work in exhibitions.

 Williams was given complete freedom in the design of the state medal, but the committee replaced his reverse design with the state seal in holding with state pride and some precedent.

 The observe, or front, side of the medal illustrated a Hoosier log cabin with beams radiating from it to towering representations of agricultural, industrial and commercial growth.

 Speedway officials decided that they could have their own medallion after they saw the state medal Wiiliams was com­missioned to create a design which reflected the progress seen throughout the years at the Speedway. He contrasted the Marmon Wasp, winner of the first race, and the old Pagoda with a new rear-engine car and the new Tower. Demand exceeded supply of models on sale at the fiftieth Memorial Day Classic.

 In designing both medals, Wil­liams found the concept of evo­lution to be the most interesting lead in his research. He believes that his form of art is more absolute than a question of the period of time which it represents. "If the de­sign in an interpretation of fun­damental laws, it is timeless. It has perpetual value, even though it may have periodic characteristics."

 His work has ranged in em­phasis from children to great men to evolution. Much of his work today is commissioned by education institutions. Some of his more famous com­missions include bas reliefs of  John F. Kennedy, Leopold Stokowski, Thomas Edison, George Ade, John T. MeCutcheon, Pope Paul XXIII, Knute Rockne, and Stan Musial.

 He plans to design a series of modernistic animal studies and large reliefs of famous musi­cians scientists, religious lead­ers and great men of the ages. Much of the work will be done in a geodesic dome, a structure 44 feet in diameter which he built next to his home. Williams was a free  lance sculptor - designer in Chicago before he became associated with Culver in 1940. He has done portraiture work in addition to supervising the art program at the Academy. He teaches win­ter and summer students in art technique, design and apprecia­tion.

 Born In Henderson, Kentucky, William attended Berea, (Ky) College, Butler University, IndianapoIis, Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, and the Chicago Art Institute. He was graduated with honors in art history and appreciation from the Chicago Art Institute and received scho­larships from three other schools. 

His sons, Earle and David, are students at Culver Military Academy, and he has a daughter, Sylvia, 13, at home and an older daughter Carroll.

 Williams: Sculpting is a Way of Life

Sculptor's Career Fun, Profitable - Culver Citizen, Dec. 29, 1976

Warner Williams has never worked.

He's experienced every minute of his life, interlacing his career as a sculptor with his various hobbies.

Now at the age of 73, when most people have long since retired, Williams resides in Culver and spends almost every night in his geodesic dome studio he built himself still experiencing and enjoying his life.

Warner Williams

If he's not photographing his work, he's playing the piano, grinding lenses for his homemade view camera, exploring the protozoan world in his microscope or building a telescope.

"I'm a do-it-yourselfer for economics, necessity and fun," explains the soft-spoken artist.

While his hobbies are most peoples' professions, Williams disclaims any talent overload. "I never felt I had much talent. Now I have a daughter who has a lot more talent than me." He proudly shows her picture and tells of all her accomplishments, even though has own are countless.

He spends his evenings in his studio that stands behind his home on White Street working on projects, "not to make money, but to get it done."

"I'm the kind of person," he explains, "who just wants to get finished. If something's out here, I like nothing better than to get it done."

Making art has been his livelihood, but mass production has never been his goal.

"I'm not interested in production. I rarely re-use my work. Most of it is personal. I give a lot of things away," he says of a profession that really began when he was digging clay on the creek bank and modeling clay heads as a child.

Warner Williams

His artistic qualifications read almost like anyone's, he says. He calls it a typical art education.

But Williams extended his typical education to make the largest selling state medal. In 1966 he was selected in closed competition  to  design  Indiana's Sesquicentennial medallion. 

Chances are that most people have seen his work unknowingly. He has done countless busts and medallions of famous persons, many of them on display at universities and museums.

 

Warner Williams

Competition in his field, he says, isn't really' very difficult. He remembers his first portrait.

"I was working in Indianapolis in a restaurant across the street from the Art Institute. A dentist used to come in. We became friends and I got free dental work. In return I did a portrait of his daughter. That was my first one. J.K. Lily, of the pharmeceutical company, saw it and that was the first time I was paid for my work," he recalled.

Williams freelanced from 1925 to 1940. In 1941 he came to Culver Military Academy to start the art department. When he left there in 1969 he decided to stay in Culver.

Warner Williams

"It was familiar. My children were still in school. It was quiet, safe and I enjoyed the lake. I had no reason to leave." he explained.

"And although his life may sound easy and all fun, doing what he loves to do, Williams puts it this way, "Yes, you have your own hours, but they're long hours."

The photos above, printed here with their original captions, accompanied the Citizen article. Click any photo to view it full-size.

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