Dimitri Hadzi (1921 2006) is among the most distinguished modernist sculptors, known for his mythic and monumental sculpture in bronze and stone commissioned for public spaces such as the JFK Center at Government Center Boston, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center and St. Pauls Church in Rome. His sculpture is powerfully abstract and expressionist in character, fusing themes of antiquity with the modern. In addition to bronze sculpture, he worked in clay, primarily in the early days of his career and especially toward the end, as well as doing painting and printmaking. Dimitri Hadzis contribution to the international language of sculpture continues to influence and inspire through permanent installations and collections, and exhibitions worldwide.
Lucy Lacoste Gallery
is showing Three Generations, (23.5 inches at the tallest height) a very special suite of five porcelain sculptures made c. 1998. As the name suggests, Three Generations, consists of five ceramic pieces representing grandparents, parents, and child. In his later years, Hadzi began to embrace the ceramic medium due to the physically demanding nature of his large-scale sculptures. He also became more reflective about life, legacy, and family.
Here he uses bold, yet elegant, almost-chess like pieces to represent the hierarchy of family. Each one has its own identity, defined by strong and distinct circular and triangle shapes typical of Hadzis style. The contrast between colors of blue, orange, and brown express not only masculine and feminine energy, but also the interplay of lineage, which culminates in the soft brown of the small child piece.
Hadzi also painted in oils occasionally throughout his career. Safe Haven, (61 h x 87 w inch) is a masterpiece. Hadzi began this painting in 1996. It has a potent abstract composition using circles, squares and triangles that invokes an unknown subconscious full of color. It is like walking into a Dimitri Hadzi sculpture with many rooms in color. Upon its completion in 1998, Hadzi said, I feel safe that its a good painting. I feel satisfied with the end result.
Born to Greek American immigrant parents in New York City, Dimitri Hadzi showed a talent for drawing at an early age and won a prize for his ability. After serving in World War II, he graduated from Cooper Union with accolades, went to Greece on a Fulbright, then after signing up for the GI Bill just before it expired, was able to go to Rome, where he lived for 24 years and made his career. In Rome, Hadzi became friends with many stars of the art world including the sculptors Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi and Alberto Giacometti. Hadzi represented the US in three Venice Biennales,1958 and1962.
In the mid-1970s, he was wooed to teach at the Carpenter Center, part of Harvard University in Cambridge, a position that he loved, and which further brought him into connection with art stars such as the painter David Hockney and Seamus Heaney, the poet laureate of Ireland who Hadzi became friends with. Hadzi lived in Cambridge MA for the remainder of his life, where he created a studio when his tenure from Harvard was over and made most of his ceramic sculpture, as well as this painting.
His most notable public sculptures include Owen Glass Co. (Toledo, OH), as well
as Thermopylae, adjacent to Bostons City Hall Plaza, the doors on St. Pauls in Rome and the sculpture K458 THE HUNT at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, NY.
Hadzi is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art; National Gallery of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Fine Art, Boston; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; The Phillips Collection and the Guggenheim Museum among others.