Bernard Langlais is my favorite Maine artist, mostly because he created large wooden animals that are amazing including everything from lions (his favorite animal) to deer. So I was very pleased to receive a copy of the book Bernard Langlais Revisited, written by Pat Davidson Reef and designed and produced by Maine Authors Publishing.
This book is amazing, featuring gorgeous photos of many of his fabulous sculptures. And Pat tells his story very well. That story will be appreciated by adults, and kids will be mesmerized by his sculptures.
I especially enjoyed all the photographs of the Langley preserve in Owls Head – the 90 acres which was once his home and is now a public place where they have lots of children’s events.
I will never forget the first time I saw one of his sculptures. We were in Owls Head and drove past his home there where he had a huge sculpture of three bears on one side and two bears on the other. From then on, I enjoyed discovering his sculptures all over the state. Skowhegan has several.
Last time we enjoyed some of his work was at the art museum at Colby College, which inherited a huge amount of his works and distributed them throughout the country.
If you’ve never seen any of his sculptures you really need to hit the road and check them out. But you can start by buying a copy of this book which, I guarantee, you will both enjoy and treasure.
In the conclusion at the end of the book, there’s an excellent description of his work:
Langlais’s work appeals to both children and adults because its images are strong, direct, and have a touch of humor. They all have a special warmth and enormous energy, which Bernard reflected in his lifetime. Langlais sculptures show a boundless love of life and a fearless adventure in it. His use of materials from the environment makes us aware of the beauty found in nature and the beauty of art created from it. His works show us how to look at things in different ways. Most of all, his works have a sense of humanity. They touch us all.
Pat Davidson Reef is also the author of another of my favorite books, Dahlov Ipcar, Artist, the first book in the Maine Art Series For Young Readers.