Richard Erdman - Sculptor

Many of our clients over the years have been avid art collectors, and Marc has created gallery areas within his designs. Our clients for the Trousdale project are also lovers of art and wanted a large sculpture to have a prominent outdoor place. They searched for the right artist and discovered Richard Erdman’s work, deciding that they must have one of his singularly expressive pieces. He has created over 120 sculpture commissions in stone and bronze worldwide. At left, a photo from the installation shows the exciting and tense moments as the work, called Serenade, is lowered into place. 

Mr. Erdman’s abstract sculptures are created at his workshops in Vermont and also Carrara, Italy, home of the white marble that is often his raw material of choice. Most of his works are mounted on a rotating pin, which allows the viewer to experience these lively forms from various angles in their respective settings, whether an intimate, personal space, a lush private garden, or in a buzzing public space. 

Below, please enjoy a conversation with the artist, and also a short documentary profile of this gifted and inspiring craftsman.

W^R: Marc’s design for the house called for a sculpture in a particular spot on the entry path. How did your work with the homeowners and the architecture itself influence your design of Serenade?

RE: The homeowners responded to my open, fluid and earth-bound stone sculptures which appear to soar with the lightness of air. Italian white Carrara marble was selected to best express these aspects and to reflect the brightness of the California climate. White marble also speaks to the home’s natural stone facade.  

We wished to create a vertically oriented piece to counterpoint the horizontal, grounded subtleties of Marc’s design, giving lift and growth to the architecture, as would a tree. The strong, straight, linear aspects of the home called for a fluid and organic sculpture to humanize the architecture and the landing space the owners pass through daily. Concurrently, the sculpture’s concise, fine edged lines define itself as clearly as does the architecture.

W^R: What inspires you? How does a shape for a piece come to you?

RE: I am drawn to the mystery of opposing energies in concept, material, and form. In the apparent chaos of a beehive, as in all of nature, there is order, purpose, and meaning; in its thunder, there is splendor. I carve stone as I see life - from the inside out. I am always exploring, experimenting, pushing technical possibilities, which Serenade illustrates; without an ‘edge’ to the sculpture it would not be alive.

For Serenade, the decision was to move the formation of the sculpture both upward and outward at once – this was the challenge. I was inspired by the idea of creating a sculpture which represented the idea of growth like a tree, at the same time, projecting body postures as a human. Serenade is the combination of both; it spreads it’s natural stone ‘limbs’ and welcomes those who encounter it with openness to its core while it grounds us with the continuity of its connected form.

W^R: Yours is a complex process with a team involved. What is your favorite phase along the way?

RE: Carving 25 tons of stone into a buoyant 2 ton sculpture is a lengthy process, slowly cutting and carving while the massive block remains on its side. After many months of laborious work finally comes the point to stand the sculpture upright with a crane whereby the sculpture finally comes into being. This moment is truly exciting and momentous, it is indeed the birth and burst of the sculpture from its dormant state as a block, into its vibrant, lively, and permanent new being.