David Adickes is a talented artist who has never forgotten
his roots. Adickes was born and educated in Huntsville
and it is the city he chose for his best-known work--the
67-foot Sam Houston statue A Tribute to Courage, the
world's tallest statue of an American hero.
Adickes is an artist who didn't
study art--at least at first. After attending Huntsville
High School, Adickes received a bachelor of science
degree in math and physics from Sam Houston State in
1948. Only then did he turn to art, spending a summer
at the Kansas City Art Institute and two years in Paris
at the Atelier Fernand Leger.
He returned briefly to Houston, in 1951, but was soon
off to Paris, Barcelona and Tahiti, painting and exhibiting
his works in Houston and other cities. After a two year
teaching position in the Art Department at the University
of Texas, in 1957 he lived for a year in Japan and traveled
extensively for the next 10 years in the Far East, Mid
East, Europe, Russia and North Africa.
"The world was my studio," he says. Exhibitions during this time included shows
in Tokyo, Osaka, New York, Los Angeles, Palm Beach,
and St. Paul-de-Vence. In Texas there were exhibitions
in Ft. Worth, Dallas, and San Antonio, as well as Houston.
The 1983 unveiling of The Virtuoso, a 36-foot concrete
sculpture in downtown Houston, represented a major shift
in artistic endeavors.
While continuing to paint
on a limited basis, Adickes turned his attention to
large outdoor sculpture. The one he chose for his home
town, as a tribute to the 200th anniversary of the birth
of Sam Houston, is seen by thousands as they travel
Interstate 45 on the southern edge of Huntsville.
In 1989 Adickes began work
on The Winds of Change--an eight-foot bronze of George
Bush. Originally unveiled at the 1992 Republican Convention
in Houston, the statue was presented to Houston's Intercontinental
Airport when the facility was officially renamed for
the former president.
Adickes's latest project
is as incredible as the story of his personal growth
as an artist--colossal-sized busts (8 to 12 feet tall)
of all 41 presidents, which will make up a walk-through
theme park in Williamsburg, Va.
Adickes calls it a "Mt. Rushmore
on the ground." One bust, that of Andrew Jackson, is
on display just outside the Museum of Art in Jackson,
Now 71, he says he would like
to complete a 90-foot statue of George Washington, which
he envisions as overlooking Yorktown, where Washington
defeated Cornwallis during the Revolutionary War.