Man With Outstretched Arms, 1987, Stephen De Staebler (American 1933- ) bronze, 86.5” x 50.5”
De Staebler was born in St. Louis, Missouri and grew up in the midwest. He received
a Bachelor of Art degree in religious studies from Princeton University
and a Master of Art from University of California
at Berkeley. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Italy in 1955 to study art history.
Staebler is best known for his monumental clay sculptures which were an unprecedented technological breakthrough
because kiln size had previously limited the size of ceramics. In his later works, the artist began working in bronze,
but he still created works in clay and would then cast them in bronze. Bronze allowed him to break the bonds of gravity imposed
by the fragile nature of ceramics. De Staebler was interested in the delicate balance of the connec-tions
between heaven and earth, and religion and man. He says of his approach to art, "We are all wounded survivors, alive, but
devastated selves, fragmented, isolated -- the condition of modern man."
Man With Outstretched Arms is an interesting example of De Staebler’s work
in which the artist acheives a delicate balance. The bronze figure with outstreatched arms appears
to stand precariously on just one toe. The figure seems battered and worn. The tired expression combined
with the outstretched arms lead to an association with Christ, thus calling into play the artist’s interest in explorations
of man’s connections to religion.