Artwork by William Hodd McElcheran,  Smug Man

William McElcheran
Smug Man

bronze sculpture
signed, dated 1994 and numbered 1/9 on the base (incised)
28.5 x 11 x 18 ins ( 72.4 x 27.9 x 45.7 cms ) ( overall )

Sold for $21,240.00
Sale date: November 20th 2018

Private Collection, Toronto
Kinsman Robinson Galleries, William McElcheran: Humanism in Bronze, exhibition catalogue, Toronto, 2010, pages 2-6
Some of the artist's most celebrated sculptural works are the portly bronze businessmen inspired by his corporate-working clients. After graduating from the Ontario College of Art in 1948 at the top of his class, McElcheran went on to become chief designer for Bruce Brown and Brisely architects where he helped co-ordinate the planning and designing of churches and university buildings. With this shift to a more corporate career path, McElcheran still sought to work on his own practice and began building a client base of corporate professionals—his inspiration for his businessmen series.

McElcheran spent a significant amount of time in Pietrasanta, Italy, living near a foundry and other artists skilled in bronze casting. Exposed to an Italian style of modern art, the simplified smooth forms of the artist's figural work can be seen and has been coupled with a mastery of the bronze material from his experience working with experts in the field of casting.

The artist saw the businessman as the anti-hero everyman. Capturing humanism in witty and satirical sculpture, he sought to uncover the human qualities of these figures. In the artist's self-penned poem “Endangered Species”, McElcheran explores humanism and is particularly poignant to his businessmen sculptural series. He wrote:

“Eyes shifting, watching for movement, nose sniffing for traces,
Ears attentive for sounds above or below the buzz of the city,
watching, smelling, listening, prey and predator.
Calculating, (no time for contemplation), basking, bronzing at
appointed times — but reachable.
Aiming to more than survive, fracturing infinitives and anything
else that impedes or endangers.
Non-hero, non-poet, non-philosopher, endangering and endangered
— in our millions.”

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William Hodd McElcheran
(1927 - 1999)