Artist: Wilbert Verhelst (1923- 2013 ) American
Date 1954 and signed lower left
Size: 30″x40″ (height x width) oil on canvas
Exhibited: 1956 Sarasota Art Association – Sixth Annual National Exhibition
Farhat Art Museum Collection
Wilbert Verhelst was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin in 1923. He was a museum curator, sculptor, painter and teacher and earned his BFA in 1950 and MFA in 1956 from the University of Denver. He served the Denver Art Museum as an assistant curator, associate curator and teacher from 1952 until 1957. He then became the director of the Sioux City Art Center for a year before returning to the Denver Art Museum as a curator from 1958 to 1960. In 1968, Verhelst joined Roger Kotoske and Beverly and Bernie Rosen to form the Denver Sculpture Symposium which created Burns Sculpture Park at Colorado Boulevard and Alameda Avenue in Denver. Verhelst eventually relocated to Texas where he helped create the Texas Sculpture Symposium in 1978 and established and taught at the sculpture department at Southern Methodist University. Verhelst received many sculptural commissions for public buildings in Colorado, Texas and Louisiana. He shared his knowledge in his own book Sculpture: Tools, Materials and Techniques, published by Prentice Hall in 1973, in addition to influencing young artists through his many years of teaching. Verhelst died in Dallas, Texas in 2012.
Exhibited: San Francisco AA, 1953, 1957; Mississippi AA, 1950; Sarasota AA, 1956; AGAA, 1949; Utah State Univ., 1957; Denver Art Mus., 1949, 1950, 1952-56; Joslyn Mem. Mus., 1950, 1958; Nelson Gal. Art, 1950, 1957; Mus. New Mexico, 1957; WAC, 1958; Des Moines Art Center, 1958. Award: Art Faculty award, Univ. Denver, 1949.
Keywords: Mid Century Modern, Abstract, Geometric, Atomic Ranch, Retro, Original, Painting, Butterflies, Butterfly, Modernist,
50’s, Eames, Madmen, Design
Wilbert Verhelst, one of the nations major sculptures, is also one of the few of his professional stature who is both native born and educated. He was born in 1923 in Wisconsin and received his B.F.A. and M.A. from the University of Denver.
His sculpture has been the subject of major exhibitions at institutions such as the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, the Museum of New Mexico, and Southern Methodist University’s Pollock Gallery.
Verhelst has made Dallas his home since the early 1960s. His larger works grace many private and public buildings in the Western United States, while his less massive works may be seen in public and private collections.
A superb example of one of his larger works is a 35-foot sculptured fountain commissioned by PepsiCo for the corporate headquarters of their Dallas-based subsidiary, Frito-Lay, Inc.
The Artist has been recognized for his blending of intellectualism with superb technique and mastery of materials. His book, Sculpture: Tools, Materials and Techniques, is considered by many to be the definitive treatment by an American of sculptural technique and materials. It is utilized as a textbook in major art schools throughout the country.
Verhelst, in 1964 joined the faculty of Southern Methodist University where he holds the rank of Professor and directs the sculpture program at the Meadows School of the Arts.