The Rockport Center for the Arts (RCA) has announced it has entered into an agreement to procure a new sculpture from Ullberg Studios, Inc.
Recognized as one of the world’s foremost wildlife sculptors, Kent Ullberg is now a resident of Padre Island, just east of Corpus Christi, Texas. Often inspired by nature and in this case, the wildlife of the Texas coast, Merry Time Romance will feature a pair of seahorses, scaled up from an original 19.5-inch mantel piece to a finished size of eight feet and approximately 300 pounds.
Made possible through the generosity of an anonymous donor, the bronze sculpture will be prominently displayed in the 16,000-square-foot outdoor sculpture garden of the new RCA campus, that currently under construction in the heart of downtown Rockport.
“Seahorses pair for life, and every morning the couple greets each other in intricate, rhythmic, pair-bonding dances, interpreted in my design with the upside-down heart,” said Ullberg. “At breeding time, the female then places her eggs in the male’s belly pouch, and the father carries the embryos through gestation until he gives birth to sometimes hundreds of babies.”
Resident of the waters of the South Texas Coast, the lined seahorse (scientific name Hippocampus erectus) is a diurnal species with an approximate length of 15 centimeters and lifespan of one to four years.
There are 20 Ullberg sculptures currently on display in the Coastal Bend, including two already owned by the RCA. Ullberg’s other sculptures in RCA’s permanent collection are Preening Heron, featuring an five-foot tall abstracted bird, and Rites of Spring, his famed monumental 13-foot tall bronze sculpture of two whooping cranes that was the genesis of the original RCA sculpture garden located on Aransas Bay.
“The sculptures of Kent Ullberg are some of the most realistic and breathtakingly beautiful depictions of wildlife ever created,” said RCA Executive Director Luis Purón. “From his beautiful mantel pieces to the striking public monuments, his work is recognized worldwide. We are so pleased to be adding yet another one of his magnificent pieces to our collection. I will be visiting his studio and the foundry where he casts his work at the end of the month. It will take roughly a year to deliver the work, about the same time our new art campus is completed.”
A native of Sweden, Kent Ullberg is recognized as one of the world’s foremost wildlife sculptors. He studied at the Swedish University College of Art in Stockholm and worked at museums in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Africa and Denver. After living in Botswana, Africa, for seven years he has made his home permanently in the United States where he now lives on Padre Island. He also maintains a studio in Loveland, CO.
Best known for his monumental works executed for museums and municipalities across the globe, his Fort Lauderdale, FL and his Omaha, NE installations are the largest bronze wildlife compositions ever done, spanning several city blocks. Both earned him the coveted Henry Hering Medal Award from the National Sculpture Society, NYC.
His most recent monumental installation is Snow-Mastodon, a life-size bronze Mastodon placed outside the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.