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Single Winged Figure on Plinth by Stephen De Staebler

Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park


I want to express the quality of erosion in the loss of limbs over time and the rooting of the figure to the earth in time, so that it becomes in its way an extension of earth, which we are. We only exist by the grace of the earth’s nature. So what you see here is this feeling of an eroded separation from something larger in time. . . I hope for the person who isn’t too literal this will also have that connotation of being connected in time to creation. — Stephen De Staebler, Matter + Spirit: Stephen De Staebler

De Staebler’s clay and bronze sculptures depicting the human figure juxtapose the frailty and transience of individual lives against the remarkable resilience of mankind. Their forms are rooted in the ruins of Western sculpture (here, Winged Victory of Samothrace), memorial stele, and architectural friezes. Classical sculpture’s defiance of absolute decay became De Staebler’s metaphor for mankind’s yearning to connect with eternity––our shared quest for transcendence. This particular sculpture fabricated in the artist’s last year from “spare” bronze parts reclaimed from other projects, is perhaps De Staebler’s elegy to time he passed on earth.


Single Winged Figure on Plinth, 2010, Stephen De Staebler (American, 1933–2011), bronze, ¾, 112.5 x 30 x 30 inches.  Acquired with Funds Provided by the Humana Foundation Endowment for American Art, 2012.016