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"Fragility and Resilience: Sculpture by Stephen De Staebler" at Notre Dame's Snite Museum of Art
Stephen De Staebler (American, 1933-2011), Single Winged Figure on Plinth, 2010, bronze, ¾, 112.5 x 30 x 30 inches. Acquired with funds provided by the Humana Foundation Endowment for American Art.
NOTRE DAME, IN.- The Snite Museum of Art on the campus of the University of Notre Dame opened a new exhibition, Fragility and Resilience: Sculpture by Stephen De Staebler, September 2, 2012.

“Clay can be a metaphor for many things. I made it a metaphor for flesh and earth, and these are two kinds of generic givens of life, if you look at it poetically, biblically, the idea of the life of beings, of man, being transitory, the earth abides—ashes to ashes, dust to dust—man returns to earth, grows out of earth like a flower, wilts, goes back to the earth... We are frail, transitory creatures with aspirations of immortality, conscious of our inevitable death, and we have to deal with it somehow.”
––Stephen De Staebler

Stephen De Staebler’s figurative sculptures juxtapose the frailty and transience of individual lives against the remarkable resilience of humankind. Their forms are rooted within the ruins of classical sculpture, memorial stele, and architectural friezes. That is, classical sculpture’s defiance of absolute decay became De Staebler’s metaphor for mankind’s yearning for a connection to eternity—our shared quest for spiritual transcendence.

This exhibition features Single Winged Figure on Plinth from the permanent collection of the Snite Museum of Art and eleven ceramic sculptures generously lent by the Stephen De Staebler Estate courtesy of Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, Chicago (on view within this gallery).

Single Winged Figure on a Plinth will be relocated in October 2012 to the new Notre Dame Sculpture Park for its inaugural exhibition: Reclaiming Our Nature. That exhibition will also feature sculptures by Deborah Butterfield, Richard Hunt, Peter Randall-Page, and George Rickey.

Visitors might enjoy viewing the Snite Museum’s other De Staebler sculpture on view within the Walter R. Beardsley Gallery (2nd floor), Figure Column IX, 2001.

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