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Gordon Gund

1. © photographer

“While it has not been my principal vocation, sculpting has been not only my principal avocation; it has increasingly occupied my mind (often in the middle of the night) in recent years. While with my eyes I can’t see the shapes I create, I feel them over and over again with my hands and my mind, and the result is in my mind forever. It takes me more time and patience than most sighted artists, and letting go is generally felt with more uncertainty. So it is satisfying to finish something that I have doubted along the way, spent alot of time on and given alot of love. It is especially satisfying and enjoyable when others I care about truly like the result when it is finally done.”

Gund is predominantly known for his successful endeavors as a businessman and investor, the former owner of the NBA team Cleveland Cavaliers, and as a prominent philanthropist. While exposed to art at an early age-Gund still remembers attending Saturday morning art classes at The Cleveland Museum of Art with his siblings.

Gund became blind due to a retinal disease in his early thirties and his passion for sculpting began a few years later. Gund’s interest in sculpture took off when a friend introduced him to wood carving. His first carvings were of shorebirds, fish, and seals. Working with professional sculptors, Gund continued to expand his sculptural capabilities by learning how to build and ready armatures and create clay sculptures for plaster and bronze castings. Similarly, the artist has had opportunity to explore works by other sculptors through touch, including the works of Constantin Brancusi and others.

Born in 1939 in Cleveland, OH, Gund was educated at the Groton School in Massachusetts and later attended Harvard University. He has also received a number of honorary doctorates from Goteburg University, Sweden; the University of Maryland; Whittier College in California and the University of Vermont. Gund is the co-founder and chairman of The Foundation Fighting Blindness, and is the chairman and CEO of Gund Investment Corporation in Princeton, NJ. His many awards and honors include Research!America’s 2006 Volunteer Advocacy Award and induction into the Cleveland “Inside Business” Hall of Fame in 2005. His sculptures can be seen at the Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Cleveland Institute of Art, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Penn Medicine Princeton Health, the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic, the SUNY College of Optometry, and the University of Vermont.

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