Floyd Tennison DeWitt was born in 1934. While growing up in Eastern Montana, he exhibited a strong interest in art and life in general. He acquired a special feeling for three dimensional form, which he would later cultivate and develop into his life's work.
Early on, DeWitt began working with horses and considered himself a kind of "Cowboy Artist", who focused primarily on Western Art. That was until he joined the US Army.
After being drafted into the Army, he was stationed in Germany and became exposed to the wider world of art and thinking. During this time in the service, DeWitt served in the unusual capacity of sculptor, and completed a life size battalion monument for the Army.
Returning to Montana in 1956, he began to understand that his future lay in the world of art. He moved to Minnesota, where he attended the Minneapolis School of Fine Art and Design. While there, DeWitt began to seriously study sculpture and discovered, in his own words, "Life and sculpture offered not only infinite possibilities, but limitations as well, and these limitations could be a strength rather than a weakness."
With a more developed awareness of the arts, and an increasingly refined sense of taste, DeWitt returned to Europe in 1960, where he attended the National Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam, Holland on a full tuition scholarship. Throughout his six years of study at the Academy, he participated in many exhibitions and worked hard at perfecting the artist's craft. During this time, he became aware that sculpture itself is a language, a language he describes as "the silent language of form".
Upon his departure from the academy, DeWitt smoothly made the transition from student to sculptor. During the twenty five years that he resided in Europe, he worked on many commissions, both small and large. His work has been exhibited in the United States and Europe, and can be seen in many public collections, buildings and parks.
DeWitt returned to the United States in 1984. In 1991, the Holter Museum of Fine Art in Helena, Montana featured DeWitt in the largest one-man exhibition ever held in the state. This one man exhibition, entitled "The Silent Voice of Form" presented over 150 different works by DeWitt, predominantly sculpture. Following the Holter show, DeWitt participated in various group shows and received numerous awards. In 1995 he received the Gold Medal Cash Award at the National Sculpture Society in New York City, the Silver Medal in 1996, and the Bronze Medal in the year 2000.
It is evident today that DeWitt's fascination for three dimensional form and sculpture representing animals and the human figure, in particular, continue to play an important role in his work. He takes a very hands-on approach to the craft and continuously strives for improvements throughout the entire process involved in the casting and the production of bronze sculptures. He constantly fine tunes and perfects his pieces. As a result, Floyd DeWitt's work has a unique appeal which combines years of training and employs a variety of artistic expressions that emphasize the distinctive nature of our Western civilization while using a medium that can stand the test of time.
In the eyes of his peers and among a significant group of collectors found across the globe, Floyd Tennison DeWitt is considered a true American treasure.
Mr. DeWitt has built a distinguished body of work spanning more than five decades. The first half of his career flourished in the Netherlands following extensive training at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and then at the venerable Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam.
During his tenure abroad, critic and art historian Arie Teeuwisse proclaimed, "One of the most important contributions to equine sculpture in the Netherlands came from American artist Floyd DeWitt, the cowboy among the Dutch artists."
Returning to his native Montana in 1984, Floyd has continued his output of award winning work. Being recognized with such prizes as the Gold and Silver medals of the National Sculpture Society in New York and another Silver medal from the National Academy of Western Art in Oklahoma City. Such peer honors have been garnered while having been represented by major galleries across the U.S.
Although Mr. DeWitt has shown and continues to show in Montana, there has never been a comprehensive retrospective of this renowned artist's work.
Noted Dutch art critic and author of numerous publications of the Fine Arts, Architecture, and Philosophy, Dr, Hans Redeker writes: "Within a great tradition (of sculpture) DeWitt stands out as an innovator in that he endows all his works, including his portraits, with an inner significance that transcends by far the individuality of the subject. Floyd DeWitt is among the most inspired, the most authentic and the most singular of the artists I have met during my career as an art critic. Singular, but without the slightest trace of trendiness or fashionable modernism, he is unshakably himself. He is one who has liberated himself from the compulsive commercialism that contaminates so much of contemporary art today. The art of Floyd DeWitt invariably employs only the purest means of sculptural expression."
--This biography contributed to by Todd Wilkinson and Floyd DeWitt
EXHIBITIONS 1959_ Kilbrid & Bradly Gallery Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A. 1960_ Walker Art Center Minneapolis, Minnesota * 1961_ De Paardenburg Ouderker a/d Amstel, The Netherlands 1964_ Madurodam The Hague, The Netherlands 1966_ Kunsthandel M.L. de Boer Amsterdam, The Netherlands 1966_ Arti et Amicitiae Amsterdam * 1967_ Sculpture Garden Amstelveen, The Netherlands 1967_ Museumboerderij De Olievaer Uithoorn, The Netherlands 1968_ Netherlands Credit Bank Amsterdam, The Netherlands 1969_ Arti et Amicitiae Amsterdam * 1969_ Sculpture Garden Lelystad, The Netherlands 1970_ Manege De Liemers Beek, the Netherlands 1973_ Atelier Noyons Utrecht, the Netherlands 1973_ Amsterdam-Rotterdam Bank Gallery Amsterdam, the Netherlands 1974_ The Art Center (Kunstcentrum) Bergen, the Netherlands 1974_ Gallery 'De Ark' Boxtel, the Netherlands 1975_ Atelier Noyons Utrecht, the Netherlands 1977_ Singer Museum Laren, the Netherlands 1978_ City Hall (Gemeentehuis) Voorschoten, the Netherlands 1979_ Zienagoog Zaandam, the Netherlands 1979_ Hotel Des Indes The Hague, the Netherlands 1979_ Houtrust Hallen 'Year of the Child' The Hague * 1979_ Provincial Capital (Provinciehuis) Zwolle, the Netherlands 1980_ Gallery Fijnaut Amsterdam, the Netherlands 1981_ Aemstelle (Municipal Art Center) Amstelveen, the Netherlands 1983_ Gallery 't Bagijntje Lochem, the Netherlands 1985_ The Art Center of Minnesota Wayzetta, Minnesota, U.S.A. 1986_ Livingston Public Library Livingston, Montana, U.S.A. 1986_ Danforth Gallery Livingston, Montana * 1987_ The Wade Gallery Livingston, Montana * 1989_ Eide Dalrymple Gallery, Augustana College Sioux Falls, South Dakota, U.S.A. 1989_ The New Gallery, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Rapid City, South Dakota 1991_ The Holter Museum of Art Helena, Montana, U.S.A. 1992_ National Academy of Western Art (NAWA), Cowboy Hall of Fame Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 1993_ Centennial Exhibition of The National Sculpture Society New York City, New York, U.S.A. 1993_ NAWA Exhibition, Cowboy Hall of Fame Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. 1993_ Tacoma Art Museum: The Face in Art Seattle, Washington * 1994_ 100 Years of the National Sculpture Society of the United States of America in Italy Palazzo Mediceo, Seravezza, Italy 1995_ Coors Western Art Exhibit and Sale Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
COMMISSIONS 1954_ Mural commissioned by the Elks Club Wolf Point, Montana, U.S.A. 1956_ Battalion Monument, commissioned by the Second Armored Division, United States Army West Germany (present site Fort Sam, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.) 1960_ Seven welded iron reliefs Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.A. 1964_ Medallion commemorating the life work of Eleanor Roosevelt, commissioned by Royal Begeer Voorschoten, the Netherlands 1967_ Equestrian Monument The Inheritor I, commissioned by the City of Amsterdam Buitenveldert, the Netherlands 1967_ Three Donkeys entitled The Family, commissioned by the City of Utrecht the Netherlands 1968_ Equestrian Monument The Inheritor II, commissioned by the City of Amsterdam for the Entrance to Darwin Park Amsterdam, the Netherlands 1969_ Monument The Colt, commissioned by the City of Amsterdam Buitenveldert, the Netherlands 1970_ Monument The Colt, commissioned by the City of Lelystad the Netherlands 1970_ Medallion Become What You Are, commissioned by the National Society of Medallion Art to commemorate children Bergen, the Netherlands 1972_ Welded steel mobile Pegasus in Flight, commissioned by the City of Utrecht to be placed in the Municipal Theater Utrecht, the Netherlands 1976_ Equestrian Monument Homage to the Pioneer, commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce Wolf Point, Montana, U.S.A. 1979_ Monument depicting a horse Ode to the Journey, commissioned by the city of Voorschoten, the Netherlands 1980_ Portrait The Prophet, commissioned by Dr. J. Knoll Duivendrecht, the Netherlands 1980_ Portrait Pioneer Woman, commissioned by Mr. and Mrs. H. Stam The Hague, the Netherlands 1981_ Portrait The Consultant, commissioned by Mr. Wim van Schaik Groenekan, the Netherlands 1983_ Portrait Gustac Mahler, commissioned by the City of Utrecht for the Municipal Music Center Utrecht, the Netherlands 1984_ Portrait The Survivor, commissioned by C.M. Bussemaker and the Masonic Temple Bussum, the Netherlands 1985_ Cover drawing for the book of poetry "The Exact Place", commissioned by Mary Ann Waters for Confluence Press Lewiston, Idaho, U.S.A. 1990_ Portrait The Rancher's Daughter, private commission Livingston, Montana, U.S.A. 1994_ Life-sized rendition of The Mother of the Ram, commissioned by the owners of The Matteucci Galleries Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A. 1995_ Portrait of Mr. Sid Kurth, Attorney at Law Billings, Montana, U.S.A. 1997_ The Dance of Atonement belly dance series, commissioned by Mr. E. Ossorio Boulder, Colorado, U .S.A. 1998_ Several private commissions
IMPORTANT ACQUISITIONS _ Sculpture of The Colt purchased as a gift for Princess Benedikte of Denmark Ministry of Cultural Affairs The Hague, the Netherlands, _ Bronze horse by Royal Academy of Fine Arts Amsterdam, the Netherlands _ Sculpture of The Inheritor III by Museum Henriette Polak Zutphen, the Netherlands _ Sculpture of The Family by the Prins Willem Alexander School Schalkhaar, the Netherlands _ Sculpture of Pegasus in Panic and The Call; permanent acquisitions for the Museum Castle 't Nijenhuis Wijhe, the Netherlands _ Bronze sculpture of Lily Marlene by provincial governor of the province Overijssel Zwolle, the Netherlands _ Bronze horses Redwater and The Gentleman by the Amsterdam-Rotterdam Bank the Netherlands _ Bronze horses The Aristocrat and Redwater by the City of Utrecht the Netherlands _ Pegasus in Panic by Modern Art Consultants for the Anderson Corporation New York City _ The Mother of the Ram by the Matteucci Gallery Santa Fe, New Mexico _ The Inheritor II by the Loveland High Plains Art Council for Benson Park Loveland, Colorado.