John R. Hegnauer
Italian slate, gold leaf, 2000
Given in Honor of Decherd Turner and Erik Bradford Stocker by Thomas Mizer, 2020
Librarian and book collector Erik Bradford Stocker commissioned this alphabet in 1999. Carved by John Hegnauer in his Portsmouth studio the stone displays the artist’s mature sensibility for letterform and a finely-honed craft that is beneficiary of the Puritan stone carving tradition in New England. Hegnauer, a stonecutter for over thirty years, built a body of work that ranges from private memorials and monuments to public commissions, notably carvings in the John and Robert Kennedy memorials in Arlington National Cemetery, at the Massachusetts State House, Harvard University, Brown University, the Vanderbilt Mausoleum, and the Dallas Museum of Art. Until his retirement Hegnauer taught at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Hegnauer wrote in his June 18, 1999, letter to Stocker: “The second design [as accomplished here] results in a massed arrangement using the 3 alphabets plus ranging numerals within a horizontal rectangle, and with this I have attempted something quite different to anything I have seen, and I must say I am extremely enthusiastic about the possibilities it offers. The various “themes” characteristic of the several alphabets get interwoven into a more continuous, balanced though asymmetric pattern.”