Amidst the flurry of modernist movements that consumed the art world throughout the span of Anne Arnold’s (American, 1925 - 2014) career, her work remained a thoroughly unique, technically masterful celebration of the beauty and spirit of her animal subjects. While her sculptures carry shades of folk tradition and modernist forms, Arnold’s only true allegiance was to her subjects, choosing her materials and approach based on what would most adequately portray the essence of each animal. Her resulting sculptures in wood, bronze, terracotta, and resin-painted fiber imaginatively capture the physical and spiritual complexity of these animals, invoking the character of each creature via nuanced movement of muscle and bone beneath fur.
Born in Melrose, Massachusetts in 1925, Arnold studied at the University of New Hampshire, Ohio State University, and the University of Guadalajara in Mexico before moving to New York in 1949. There she continued her studies at the Art Students League until 1953. Like other artists of her time whose work stood apart from prevailing modes of contemporary art, Arnold found a platform at the Tanager Gallery, a 10th street cooperative where she had her first one-person exhibition in 1960. Her work was then the subject of nine one-person shows at Fischbach Gallery and was included in many group shows around the country. In 1983, a retrospective exhibition of her work was organized by the Paul Creative Arts Center at the University of New Hampshire.