Saturday, July 10, 2010

World Renowned Sculptor Laszlo Ispanky, 90, Dies

World renowned sculptor, Sir Laszlo Ispanky, 90, passed away Friday, July 9, 2010, at his family home in Hopewell, NJ. Born 1919 in Budapest, Hungary, he was the youngest of 10 children. Ispanky served in the Hungarian Army and was a POW in Siberia for 11 months. After release, he concentrated on his love of art, gaining fame in Hungary for his many sculptures. During the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Laszlo Ispanky escaped his homeland and emigrated to the United States.

Word of his arrival spread quickly in America. He was awarded a Fellowship to the Cranbook Academy of Art in Deerfield, Michigan to study and teach sculpting. Ispanky moved to New Jersey in early 1960 and became the Master Sculptor for Cybis Porcelains, creating many fine porcelain figurines as well as the 48 State Flower Bouquet seen at the World's Fair. In 1966 he started his own porcelain company with partner George Utley. In 1968 it became Ispanky Porcelains Ltd. and was located in Trenton, NJ until 1972 when he moved his growing company to Pennington, NJ.

Laszlo Ispanky, whose works have been selected by the US Government as special gifts to Heads of State, was often referred to as "The Living Master".

Ispanky was internationally renowned for his remarkable ability to duplicate an individual's exact likeness. This clearly becomes visible in his majestic sculpture of Pope John Paul II as well as many others. His prestigious pieces are in some of the finest collections in the world: The American Shakespeare Festival Theater and Academy; The Smithsonian Institute; The Museum of Modern Art, Peking, China; The Brooklyn Museum; The New Jersey State Museum; The Jerusalem Foundation; The President's Mansion, Mexico City; The Royal Palace, Stockholm, Sweden; The Rockefeller Collection; The New Jersey Governors Mansion, Princeton, New Jersey; The Liberace Museum of Las Vegas; The National Cathedral of Brazil; Buckingam Palace; The Vatican.

President Gerald Ford selected three of Ispanky's major pieces for presentation to Heads of State on his European trip as well as a presentation to Chairman Mao Tse-Tung of China.

During Pope John Paul II's visit to the United States his Holiness was presented with Ispanky's "Ten Commandments" which is now at the Pope's summer home in Castle Gandolfo.

In 1974 he created "Basketball Players" for the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. He was also commissioned by the Texas Rangers to create the sculpture honoring their 150th anniversary. His Fine Arts Medallion for the American Society of Medalists for the Spring '74 issue was struck in both bronze and silver.

His creations include the magnificent sculpture in bronze "Let There Be Light" which was commissioned by the Knights of Malta and presented to President of Egypt Anwar Sadat.

He sculpted the "Love Award" for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and his porcelain "George Washington Kneeling at Prayer at Valley Forge" was selected as the official commemorative by the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge.

His many prominent works of art include bronze busts of Senators, Congressmen and a former conductor of the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra, Toscanini's hands and the "Bull" that Lyndon B. Johnson presented to President Ordaz of Mexico as a Presidential Gift of State.

In January of 1975, Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco was presented with the Ispanky sculpture "King Lear and Cordelia", a piece which takes its theme from Shakespearian drama.

Ispanky's sculpture "Applause" is in the US Figure Skating Association's Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs and his "Coppelia" was presented to choreographer Agnes de Mille.

Each year Ispanky designed and contributed another of his "Angels of the World" series which were made by the mentally handicapped adults at the T&M Ranch in Florida and used as a fund-raising project by the Association for Retarded Citizens.

Laszlo Ispanky has also created large-scale monuments, fountains and building structures in Budapest and other major cities in Europe before escaping to freedom in America.

Sir Laszlo Ispanky was Knighted into the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem (Knights of Malta) in 1977 in recognition of his contributions to art and culture. He was also Knighted into the Order of St. George by the Vatican.

Sir Laszlo Ispanky is survived by his beloved wife, Susan Toft Ispanky, and his son, Jason Toft Ispanky, both of Hopewell, NJ, a niece, Yoke Noordhoek, her husband, Dries, of Holland. He was a member of St. Alphonsus Church, Trenton Cyrus Lodge #5, Pennington, NJ, and The National Sculpture Society. He leaves a family of artists whom he mentored and inspired over the years. He loved them all.

"In addition to being an artist of uncommon strength and vision, Laszlo Ispanky was a giving friend and mentor. Throughout his life he provided me with paints, canvas, clay and inspiration. He gave me the courage to follow my dream."

Robert Girandola, Sculptor
9/11 Memorial, Engine 6, New York City


At July 10, 2010 at 10:15 PM , Blogger Rudolph said...

Robert Laszlo Ispanky was the world's greatest porcelain sculptor. He taught you everything you know about sculpting since you were a small child. Even though he had a long and extremely productive life, I know how personally Laszlo's death has affected you. He loved you dearly and came out of a sick bed to inspect your memorial to fallen firefighters of 9-11 and putting the final touches on a hand of one of the firefighters. His memory lives on in that piece as it does in so many of his works. My prayers are offered for him and his wife, Suzy. Thank you Robert for that wonderful refllection of Laszlo Ispanky.

At October 19, 2010 at 6:02 PM , Blogger Nikoletta said...

Thank you Robert for this memory.
He will stay always with us in our memory and in his art.

Nikoletta Ispanky (Hungary)


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