Creator: Henry DiSpirito
Take a careful look at the stones that make up the back wall of the parking lot of the Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute, and you'll find a fox hiding there. It was carved and placed there by artist Henry DiSpirito. He was introduced to the technique of direct carving in stone while taking classes there between 1941-43. That became his preferred technique for the rest of his career.
However, at that time, he was supporting his family as a stone mason. In fact, he did masonry for many institutions where he would later show his artwork, including MWPAI. He had begun his career as an artist while growing up in Italy. Even after he had to leave school at age 11 to become a stone mason's apprentice, he still continued his art. In 1921, he immigrated to the United States and arrived in Utica. He worked as a stone mason until his retirement in 1963.
His inclusion of this relief in the parking lot wall was a rare crossover between his masonry work and his artwork. It represented his commitment to showing his artwork at such institutions. His first group show at MWPAI was in 1944, and he went on to have his first solo show there in 1950. That was just the beginning of a long series of shows at notable institutions throughout the Eastern, Southern, and Central US, including New York City.
Subject: Public art, Relief (Sculpture), Foxes
Rights: This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 and without a copyright notice.
Find out more:
Hopkins-Benton, Ashley. Breathing Life into Stone: The Sculpture of Henry DiSpirito. 1st ed. Cooperstown, N.Y: Fenimore Art Museum, 2013. Print. p. 26, 42.
Location: Parking lot wall, Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute, 310 Genesee Street, Utica