A Warthog Comes Home
We’re so excited when one of Bernard Langlais’ whimsical sculptures finds its way back home to our Langlais Sculpture Preserve in Cushing. This warthog had lived in a dark, damp corner of a Washington, D.C. garden for years.
When Elisabeth Scott Porter heard about our effort to keep Langlais’ art and homestead alive and open to the public, she knew it was time to send the warthog home to Cushing.
Here is the warthog’s story: Ms. Porter was visiting friends in Cushing in 1979 who told her a little about Blackie’s work so she decided to walk over and visit him.
There was no one visible but I heard some noise coming from the barn so I went and found Blackie working there. What a fascinating, powerful man. He was very kind and told me to feel free to look around as much as I liked and if I had any questions to knock on the kitchen door and speak with Mrs. Langlais. I eventually saw the warthog and totally fell in love with it. I knocked on the kitchen door and asked Mrs. Langlais if I could buy it, and I could and did.
Then the question was how to get it to Georgetown in Washington, D.C. In time, I learned that a friend from Damariscotta would be coming to D.C., and I persuaded her to pick it up and haul it down to our garden where it resided for many years, including moves to two other houses.
By the third move, the old warthog was looking a little worn out and a friend suggested the name of a man from Maine who specialized in restoring Blackie’s sculptures. I asked him to “reenergize” the warthog, which he did.
Fast forward to 2018. I was planning to sell the house and move to an apartment so I got in touch with my friend Fred Kellogg. He got in touch with Alvin Chase [GRLT Board President] who was conveniently driving by D.C. returning from a trip to the south. Alvin kindly stopped by and gathered up the old warthog and took it back to its old stomping grounds in Maine.
With generous gifts from Langlais supporters (like you!), the warthog has been lovingly restored by Maine art conservator, Douglas Smith. Doug worked in the barn at the Langlais Sculpture Preserve to replace rotten parts with wood originally gathered by Langlais.
Doug cataloged the original design with photographs and patterns so that as he created new pieces to replace the rotten parts, it would be as close to the original sculpture as possible. He also copied Langlais’ techniques, such as using the chain saw to make the final contouring design lines (see photo).
We are so thankful to Ms. Porter for this generous donation of the sculpture, the restoration gifts from Langlais supporters, and the skill and passion of our local art conservator. You can visit the warthog in Langlais’ studio on open house and studio days.
Want to see more of Langlais’ sculptures return to their former glory? Please become a Langlais supporter by making a gift today!