Neil Estern (1926-2019)

Neil Estern (1926-2019)

Neil Estern passed away in West Cornwall, CT on July 11, 2019 at the age of 93. He was the NSS Honorary President, twice president of the NSS, and was active in the Society until very recently. Only a month ago, Estern finished editing an interview that will be in the summer issue of Sculpture Review magazine.

Estern’s first term as NSS president was from 1994-1997. In accepting the office of president, Estern stated that he was a great believer in the National Sculpture Society and the role it plays in the American art scene.  One of his presidential challenges was the fact that he was also working full-time on the Roosevelt Memorial.  More than once he had to climb down a ladder, where he was modeling the 8′ 11″ FDR or the 7′ Eleanor to answer NSS business calls. Estern’s term ended in January 1997, and in May of the same year, President Clinton dedicated the FDR Memorial.

Estern’s other notable public monuments include

Fiorello LaGuardia in Greenwich Village, Manhattan (NY)
Portrait bust of JFK in Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn (NY)
Eleanor Roosevelt for the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
Senator Claude Pepper for the Pepper Museum in Tallahassee, FL

In 2008, NSS awarded Estern the Medal of Honor for his outstanding contribution to American sculpture, both as a sculptor and as a leader in the field of sculpture. Estern was a friend and mentor, and was always generous in sharing his knowledge and in encouraging emerging sculptors.  He will be missed.

Watch an interview with Estern

Read his obituary in The Brooklyn Eagle

Sculpture News image: Neil Estern in front of his Eleanor Roosevelt statue (2010)

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