Cobert C Collins: 1924-2013 The placement/ownership of Cobert Collins sculptures span four continents, a dozen countries, over 50 commercial and public buildings/gardens/complexes, and an excess of 1,000 private residences. His sculpted images range from 12 inch highly representational figures to giant stainless steel figurative abstracts standing 25 feet high and weighing several tons. At age 81 his last installation was a set of five larger than life figures representing the five branches of service in WWII, in Royal Palm Beach, Florida.
Collins images reflect his inner vision that: “Life is a discovery of the inherent design and relationship between all things.” His pieces mirror a continued fascination with movement and change and the importance of connective relationships between people. He originated a technique of modeling bronze into stainless steel through a direct welding process to eliminate its hard manufactured look, and give each sculpture a softness indicative of intimate relationships.
Born in 1924 in Portsmouth, Ohio, he was the oldest son of 6 children. His family moved to Harlan County, Kentucky and his father died when he was 11. He learned to shoot, set out traplines for game in the Kentucky woods, and took odd jobs to help feed his family. He quit high school at age 16 and journeyed the Miami, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers until his 18th year. WWII had broken out and he joined the army and became a decorated Paratrooper and Ranger in the 101st Airborne Division; the “Screaming Eagles.” After the war, he enrolled at the University of Missouri through the GI bill and discovered Art, Psychology, and working with clay. He graduated in Fine Arts and Psychology, and went on to do Graduate work in Art and Occupational Therapy. There he met his wife of 43 years whom he lost to breast cancer in 1993. He later remarried.
Following Graduate school and a few years as a practicing Occupational Therapist, Collins moved to upstate New York and became a successful restaurateur and sculptor. He and his wife raised two children in Elmira New York. He started carving ice sculptures and modeling clay while he owned his restaurants. He founded an Artists Consortium of local painters and sculptors. He began to do one man exhibits,initially at the Arnot Art Gallery in Elmira New York. He then moved to West Palm Beach, and there his artistic journey took flight for the next 30 years and he emerged as a prolific and highly recognized sculptor.
Over the years his work has been the subject of television shows, scores of newspaper and magazine articles,and showcased in private collections and galleries. His sculptures have been presented in print advertisement ( e.g.Architectural Digest) and several of his large pieces appeared in the opening scenes of a few Warner brothers films. He was the Artist in Residence at the Chateau du Bonmont, Cheserex, Switzerland. He exhibited in over fifty galleries, design centers, and private homes across three continents. He fabricated a set of monumental sculptures “ The Gates of Jerusalem;” a figurative set of six abstract pieces commemorating the 50th anniversary of the State of Israel. He is represented in private collections throughout the United States, Lyon and Divonne France, Geneva an Cheserex, Switzerland, Sydney Australia, Frankfort Germany, Shannon Ireland, Toronto Canada, Rio De Janeiro Brazil, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Collins passed in Delaware, Ohio; March 19, 2013, surrounded by family and friends. A portion of Collins remaining work has been placed in a Partnership, between the Cobert C Collins Memorial Sculpture Fund LLC and the Westerville parks and Recreation Foundation for the purposes of offering his work in the greater Columbus Ohio area for the benefit of both organizations.
Recently Halona Farms in Wellington, Florida, purchased the property and studio where Collins fabricated these pieces, and the Collins Memorial Sculpture Fund LLC has formed a relationship with Halona Farms and the Remount Foundation in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The majority of the Memorial Sculpture Fund Collection is now represented internationally by the Tranter-Sinni Gallery (located in Toronto and Miami).
In his work, Collins exemplified the idea that the positive side of human relationships be reflected through his art. Cobert always chose to rise above the difficulties of the human condition and celebrate the beauty and connection people have toward each other. “Each day I hear music in my thoughts.
My fondest hope is that the positive side of human relationships is reflected in my work. “ Cobert C Collins