After emigrating in 1923, Heinz Warneke worked across America during his career: first in Saint Louis, followed by New York in 1927, Washington DC, and finally Connecticut. Among his awards and commissions, Warneke won first prize at the Saint Louis Artist's Guild in 1925. By 1930, he had been awarded the Logan Medal at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1930 for his
. Just five years later, his
earned him the Widener Gold Medal at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, which became part of the Chicago Art Institute's collection along with his
. The Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts, then acquired Warneke's Belgian marble
, and his bronze
were acquired by the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Science in Virginia.
During the early 1940s in Pennsylvania, Warneke created the work for which he is best known: his
for Penn State University. In 1962, he created his
African Elephant and Calf
for the entrance at the Philadelphia Zoo. Carved from a single block of granite, it is considered one of the largest freestanding monolithic sculptures in America.
He spent part of most years working in Paris, where he began the carved granite piece
The Prodigal Son
, which was placed in the Bishop's Garden of Washington Cathedral upon completion. Warneke's style is one that employs clean compositions with smooth surfaces, delineated by sharp lines and sculpted curves. His unique approach won him commissions in a competition under the Treasury Department's art program, denoting his status and likability among contemporaries.
Between 1940 and 1942, he taught sculpture at the Warneke School of Art. From 1943 to 1968, he headed the sculpture department at the Corcoran School of Art and taught sculpture at George Washington University. He was also a member of the National Academy of Design and the National Sculpture Society.
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