Purchase of Artist Fritz Horstman’s Sculpture Supports Hill-Stead
Fritz Horstman’s sculpture, The Volume of Light (Hill-Stead), depicts the sunlight cast through the windows and doors of Hill-Stead Museum. It has been on view as part of Wadsworth Atheneum’s exhibition, Made in Connecticut, which runs until February 7. A Hill-Stead neighbor and art collector has graciously purchased the piece, which was part of Hill-Stead’s recent benefit auction to support the treasured cultural institution.
The Volume of Light (Hill-Stead) gives form to the transitional state of movement between outdoor and indoor life emphasized by the architect Theodate Pope. The sculpture comprises shafts of bright poplar woodcuts. The piece is positioned to describe the volume of direct sunlight that passes through the doors and windows of the Hill-Stead Museum at 9:30 am every summer solstice. At that particular moment, the sun is 45 degrees above the horizon, and its rays meet the axis of Hill-Stead at 45 degrees. The right angles that predominate Theodate Pope Riddle’s building meet this light angle to create a sharp and legible geometry of light. Only doors and windows facing northeast or southeast are in direct sun at that hour. Horstman painted dark brown floors and walls of the building that obstruct direct sunlight onto the sculpture’s shafts and base. Details include cast shadows of the building in light brown.
Some vantages create a highly ordered grouping of windows and doors. In contrast, others give the appearance of a more chaotic assembly of forms. The viewer’s movement between those states may evoke the physicality of the building and the transition from outdoors to the ordered rectilinearity of Pope’s architecture. Please view this short video to learn more about the impressive piece.