Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum

Charles Umlauf was the son of German farmers who migrated to Chicago in 1911 to escape anti-German sentiments. At 14 he was orphaned in his tough Chicago neighborhood however managed to survive winning a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago. Post graduation the Depression struck and problems obtaining work occurred, however fate changed as he met and married, Angeline, with their partnership producing 6 children. It was also during this time his provocative and haunting work was noticed.

Example of his haunting work

Two very different sculptures depicting the family.

A realistic sculpture of Mother and Child

In 1941 he was offered and accepted a position at University of Texas at Austin where he worked for the next 40 years as an art professor and sculptor. He and his wife built a home on the grounds where the garden now stands and his donation to the City of Austin is a lasting legacy.

Then a passionate work, The Lovers
And some whimsy, The Skater

Umlauf’s works are found in the Met in NYC, the Smithsonian, and Houston’s Love Field. They run the gambit from impressionism to abstract, to life like sculptures. He worked in marble, wood, rose quartz, and onyx. Creating his sculptures using an ancient Lost Wax Method, from the classic Greeks, here are the steps:

  • A charcoal sketch was created.
  • Followed by a 3 dimensional clay model
  • Plaster was then molded over the clay
  • This was then sent to Italy where the wax was specially treated and fired creating a mold.
  • Copper and tin were then poured into the mold.
  • The final work was then chiseled away.

All this is explained in a fascinating movie narrated by Umlauf. What a unique and treasured gift Austin received in his donation of the Sculpture Garden.

Go and enjoy this must see..

This concludes my Austin visit. Great way to end the trip.

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