“Milton Hebald was ‘without doubt the most important living figure sculptor,’ Anthony Burgess, the English novelist and literary critic, wrote in 1971, but he nonetheless predicted that few people, even among the cognoscenti, would remember his name.” So begins Milton Hebald’s obituary in the New York Times.
Milton Herald, FAAR 1955, died on January 5, 2015 at the age of 97. During his time at the Academy he was working on what is perhaps his greatest piece of public art, the famous Zodiac Screen for the glass exterior of Pan Am’s Worldport Terminal at what was then Idlewild Airport. Zodiac Screen was removed from Worldport before the terminal was demolished in 2013. It is currently in storage near JFK. Hebald recorded an oral petition to save the work and the building but to no avail. Rescuing Zodiac Screen and reinstalling it in an appropriate location could be a brilliant challenge project for a team of SOF members.
Hebald lived in Italy for over 50 years; after he left the Academy he established studios in Rome and near Lake Bracciano. He became known for monumental bronze sculptures in many locations around the world, and in later life, for his Etruscan-influenced erotic sculptures in terra-cotta. He eventually sold his home in Bracciano to Anthony Burgess and returned to the United States.
A film saluting his life and work, Hebald: Hands of Eros, was produced and directed by Linda Carfagno and shown at Cannes in 2011.