Life in Bronze

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Life in Bronze: The Sculptures of Lawrence Ludtke


Lawrence M. (Larry) Ludtke (1929-2007) of Houston, TX brought his creations to life with a sense of movement and realism through his attention to detail, anatomy, and proportion. He brought to his art a fascination with musculature and motion that empowered him to capture the living essence of his subjects and powerfully project character, purpose, and personality in every work. 

He was a Fellow in the National Sculpture Society (US) and a Corresponding Member of the Royal Academy of British Sculptors, became well-known for his portrait and figurative art. He also attended Texas A&M University and played professional baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s and 1950s. 

His works grace the halls and grounds of the United States Air Force Academy, Johns Hopkins Medical School, Rice University, Texas A&M University, CIA headquarters, the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Pentagon, Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, and the National Battlefield Park at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to name but a few. He has also created significant liturgical art, most notably a life-size Pieta for St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston and a Christ and Child for Travis Park Methodist Church in San Antonio. 

Ludtke was influenced by Italian-born Pompeo Coppini, whose monumental art captured the essence of Texas. Ludtke adopted Coppini’s clay-model technique as his own favored modeling medium. Ludtke’s research into the lives and careers of his subjects shines through every one of his works. 

The items on display in this exhibit were graciously loaned to The Bryan Museum by Erik and Laura Ludtke, Lawrence’s son and daughter-in-law. Many of the sculptures on display were the original models for larger pieces that are on display throughout Texas and the United States. Also highlighted are several of Ludtke’s paintings proving that his artistic prowess stretched far beyond clay modeling. The video in this gallery is an interview between J.P. Bryan, the museum’s founder, and Erik Ludtke.