Monumental sculptures by Arthur Carter on view at the Wadsworth Atheneum

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Monumental sculptures by Arthur Carter on view at the Wadsworth Atheneum
Arthur Carter’s A Circle Intersected by Two Concentric Circles (2003) installed in the Wadsworth’s Morgan Great Hall.

HARTFORD, CT.- Thirty-two works by Connecticut-based sculptor Arthur Carter are now on view at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Carter’s art explores the proposition that mathematical logic has an innate beauty, while beauty itself conforms to mathematical logic. In addition to indoor metal sculptures installed throughout the galleries and two monumental works placed outside the museum building, the exhibition includes a newly-commissioned film by Harry Moses The Blur of Motion: Works by Arthur Carter, exploring the artist’s process for creating works on view. Arthur Carter: Mathematical Beauty is on view November 17, 2023–January 14, 2024 at the Wadsworth.

“Arthur Carter is a true Renaissance man, a real polymath whose talent and purity of vision has produced a remarkable sculptural imagination. We are delighted to present his sculpture in the context of the great works in our exceptional collection along with some of his working drawings and tools that reveal his artistic process,” said Matthew Hargraves, Director of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

Arthur Carter (b. 1931) is at once a pianist, Coast Guard veteran, businessman, publisher, philanthropist, university professor, and sculptor. Inspired by the legacies of Connecticut’s great twentieth-century sculptors Alexander Calder and Alexander Liberman, Carter creates work in the constructivist tradition—sculpture based on a concept of mathematical purity inspired by the great medieval mathematician Fibonacci and the Golden Ratio. From initial drawings made with pencil, compass, and protractor, to small maquettes, and finally large-scale works in welded steel and bronze, Carter’s art is centered on beauty through fitness of proportion, purity of line, and harmony of parts.

Arthur Carter was born on December 24, 1931, in New York City. Trained as a classical pianist, he continued his studies in French literature at Brown University and received his AB in 1953. Mr. Carter served three years in the United States Coast Guard as a lieutenant (junior grade) and was honorably discharged in 1956. During that time, he was commanding officer of a search air and rescue patrol craft. He went on to the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College and received his MBA in finance in 1959, all before embarking on a twenty-five-year-long career as an investment banker.

In 1981 he started his first newspaper, the Litchfield County Times, and six years later he founded the New York Observer. For Carter, the process of laying out and designing the overall look of two newspapers generated an interest in graphics. The front page of both newspapers relied on the square as its dominant theme. Carter began to convert the grids and geometries associated with the printed page from two dimensions to three, using stainless steel, a material that had been familiar to him since his days at Officer Candidate School, where he had learned the art of welding.

He soon began producing maquettes of wood, clay, and copper wire, which evolved into larger constructions in bronze, copper, and stainless steel—a number of which are on public display in New York City, Washington, D.C., California, and in Connecticut. Carter maintains a production facility and design studio in Roxbury, CT. Carter’s constructions take months to complete but all begin with three simple tools: a sketchbook, a straightedge, and a compass.

Arthur Carter: Mathematical Beauty has been made possible by the Wadsworth Atheneum Exhibition Fund, supported by the Estates of James Lyon, Karen Kelleher, and Susannah Shickman, and through the support of Arthur and Linda Carter. The Wadsworth Atheneum extends particular thanks to Leslie Hoeflich, Brian Crossley, and Douglas Crossley for their tireless help in the making of this exhibition.

Founded in 1842 with a vision for infusing art into the American experience, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is home to a collection of nearly 50,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years and encompassing European art from antiquity through contemporary as well as American art from the 1600s to today. The Wadsworth Atheneum’s five connected buildings—representing architectural styles including Gothic Revival, modern International Style, and 1960s Brutalism—are located at 600 Main Street in Hartford, Conn.

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