University of Leicester eBulletin

Renowned Sculptress to be Honoured by University of Leicester

June 2002
No 137

Dr Helaine Blumenfeld:  Degree awarded for contribution to the visual arts

Doctor of Letters (DLitt) University of Leicester Friday 12 July at 3pm

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A renowned sculptress who has exhibited her work in Leicester and donated a sculpture to the University is to receive an honorary degree for her contribution to the visual arts.

Dr Helaine Blumenfeld has exhibited widely throughout the United Kingdom, Italy and the USA. Twelve years ago, she donated her sculpture ‘Souls’ to the University of Leicester and, more recently, she contributed to a public exhibition at the Richard Attenborough Centre.

Dr Blumenfeld is also involved in the University’s exhibitions of sculptures in the University’s Harold Martin Botanic Garden from July 7 until the end of August.

Dr Blumenfeld said: “I am delighted to be awarded the honorary degree of DLitt from the University of Leicester.  My association with the University began in 1989, creating a sculpture to be placed on the lawn in front of the Fielding Johnson building.  That led to many visits to the University and eventually, in September 1990, to the installation of the two part bronze sculpture, ‘Souls’.

“In the years since then, I have seen the University become increasingly committed to the arts.  I was thrilled with the establishment of the Richard Attenborough Centre and for the many fine exhibits and concerts that have taken place there since then.

“I am now, at the request of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Robert Burgess, actively involved in organising a sculpture exhibition which will open on July 7 in the Harold Martin Botanic Garden.  This will be the first step towards developing a “Sculpture Trail” on the University campus.  I feel honoured and privileged to be part of what I see as a recognition of the profoundly important role art plays in our day to day lives.” 

Dr Helaine Blumenfeld
Dr Helaine Blumenfeld

In 1964, Dr Blumenfeld gained her PhD from Columbia University in New York.  In 1965 she went on to study sculpture in Paris, demonstrating her work in her first solo display in Vienna the following year.  As her career has developed, Dr Blumenfeld has held major exhibitions and displayed work across the world.

As a former Professor of Philosophy, Dr Blumenfeld’s work is a philosophical as well as artistic treatment of form, expressed in a variety of materials ranging from plaster to bronze and receiving many complementary reviews.

 However, despite the fact that she uses traditional methods and materials, Blumenfeld’s carvings and bronze casts are far from conventional.  Indeed, not only has she extended the boundaries of tradition, she has broken through into a language which is instantly recognisable as uniquely her own”.  (Mary Rose Beaumont)

In 1990, Dr Blumenfeld donated her sculpture ‘Souls’ to the University of Leicester.  Ten years later her two sculptures ‘Sun God’ and ‘ Angel of Life’ were put into place on the world’s biggest cruise liner ‘Explorer of the Seas’.  Most recently, Dr Blumenfeld has contributed to the Galeria d’Arte in Italy.

At the 2002 University of Leicester degree congregations, twelve people will receive honorary degrees. The ceremonies will take place between the 10th and 12th July and will also mark the University of Leicester’s 80th anniversary.

The honorands are:

Professor Peter Atkins, Doctor of Science (DSc)
Professor Maurice Beresford, FBA Doctor of Letters (DLitt)
Dr Helaine Blumenfeld, Doctor of Letters (DLitt)
Ms Lynne Brindley, Doctor of Letters (DLitt)
Mr Tim Brooks, Doctor of Laws (LLD)
Mr Chris d'Lacey, Doctor of Letters (DLitt)
Mr Stephen Frears, Doctor of Letters (DLitt)
Professor Dame Julia Higgins FRS CBE, Doctor of Science (DSc)
Professor David King FRS, Doctor of Science (DSc)
Ms Tasmin Little, Doctor of Music (DMus)
Mrs Hazel Thornton, Doctor of Science (DSc)
Dr David Western, Doctor of Science (DSc)

Dr Blumenfeld, with her sculpture, Souls, which is situated on the lawn in front of the University of Leicester's Fielding Johnson Building

NOTE TO NEWSDESK: For more information, please contact Professor John Holloway, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, on 0116 252 2322

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