Louis Laumen, Sculptor

Melbourne Australia

Newspaper Articles

Heroic: Bradman waves to the crowd. Picture: PETER WARD

Bradman returns to his favourite ground

"Herald-Sun" 4/ 9 / 2002

SIR Donald Bradman has been im­mortalised at the place he considered the world's greatest sporting arena.
A bronze statue of Australia's most revered cricketer, the first of 10 to be installed in a Parade of the Champions outside the MCG, was unveiled yesterday.
Sir Donald's son, John, revealed his father treasured the MCG."I reread a letter which he wrote to my mum in the new year of 1929, the day after he'd made his first Test century on this ground," he said.
"And the letter shines with the sheer delight that he felt in this magnificent arena surrounded by the people of Melbourne.
"There is no doubt that until the day he died he felt that this ground, along with the people of Melbourne, made it the greatest sporting arena in the world."
Sir Donald's grandchildren, Greta and Tom, and cricketing legends Neil Harvey, Sam Loxton, Arthur Morris and Colin McDonald were at the
statue's unveiling. Mr Bradman said he shared a bond with his father, particularly after he was widowed before his death last year.
"We talked a great deal and I admired enormously his extraordin­ary good grace and good humour in what were at times difficult circum­stances," he said.
"I look back on that time and I will gaze at this statue with a feeling of very great and treasured friendship."
The 1.5m statue on a 2m plinth depicts Sir Donald acknowledging the crowd, raising his bat and holding his Baggy Green.
Sport Minister Justin Madden said the $1 million Parade of the Cham­pions, part of the $430 million MCG redevelopment, would symbolise what sport meant to Australians.
Sculptor Louis Laumen will sculpt nine more Australian sporting heroes with links to the MCG in time for the Commonwealth Games.
WIN a sports experience, Page 29

The Don bats on at the MCG

James Madden

THE day after Don Bradman scored his first Test century in January 1929 he wrote a letter to his childhood sweetheart and future wife, Jessie Men-zies, describing his joy at achieving the feat at the Mel­bourne Cricket Ground.
Now The Don — who died 18 months ago at the age of 92 — has scored another -significant first at the nation's most famous sporting ground.
The cricketing great was yes­terday revealed as the first of 10 Australian sporting greats who are to have statues built in their honour as part of a par­ade of champions in parkland outside the ground.
At the unveiling of a replica statue of Bradman yesterday, his son, John, recalled his fath­er's love of playing at the MCG.
"The letter which he wrote to my mum the day after he had made his first Test cen­tury on this ground shines with the sheer delight that he felt in this magnificent arena," Mr Bradman said.
Icon: John Bradman, with a replica of the statue, says his father was delighted to score his first Test century at the MCG
Picture: Stuart Milligan

"There is no doubt that until the day he died he felt that this ground ... made for the great­est sporting arena in the world."
The statue depicts Bradman with his bat raised, cap and gloves in hand, acknowledging the crowd.
Neil Harvey and Sam Lox-ton, members of Bradman's Invincibles, who went through the 1948 Ashes tour to England undefeated, agreed that their former captain would be slightly embarrassed by the statue.
"He didn't like the limelight. He always used to hide in the back of a car after a game," Loxton said. "But I think he would, be very pleased with it."
The parade of champions is part of the $430 million redevel­opment of the MCG before the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
The parade's nine other inductees will be chosen by a selection panel appointed by the Melbourne Cricket Club.
The bronze statues are to be created by Victorian sculptor Louis Laumen.

Roy boy on top of the world

'Herald-Sun" 16/4/2005

Footy legend: the bronze statue of Haydn Bunton is transported from a Footscray foundry to the MCG yesterday, and left, a front view of the statue. Pictures: ELLEN SMITH

Mary Boiling

HEADING to the game in the back of a ute is a fine country footy tradition.
But triple Brownlow medal­list Haydn Bunton looked a bit out of place crossing the West Gate Bridge yesterday.
A Herald Sun photographer took these exclusive pictures of the bronzed VFL great on his way to the Parade of Champions at the MCG.
The statue is being unveiled today when it will join Don Bradman, Betty Cuthbert, Ron
Barassi, Keith Miller, Dick Reynolds and Shirley Strick­land in the line-up of greats.
Bunton has been called the greatest player the game has seen, winning three Brownlows during his Fitzroy Maroons years between 1931 and 1937.
He kicked 209 goals in his 119 games for the Roys and won two best and fairest awards.
The Albury boy has since featured on Fitzroy's AFL
stamp from Australia Post, and was named in the forward pocket in the club's Team of the Century.
The bronze statue was trav­elling from a West Footscray foundry to the MCG when the Herald Sun saw it yesterday morning.
The $1 million Tattersall's Parade of Champions will fea­ture 10 sporting legends, and is due to be finished before the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

One of the greats: The statue of Haydn Bunton outside the MCG

'G honour for 'Roys legend
"Sunday Herald-Sun" 17/ 4/ 2005

HAYDN Bunton, regarded by many as the greatest footballer in the AFL's history, was honoured yesterday with a bronze statue outside the MCG.
Bunton's career achievements were cheered by former Fitzroy champions Kevin Murray, Bill Stephen and Garry Wilson, and club officials Leon Wiegard and Dyson Hore-Lacy.
They were delighted the plaque recorded his feats for Fitzroy, the club taken over by the Brisbane Lions.
Bunton's statue is the seventh in a series of 10 in the Parade of Champions around the MCG precinct. He joins Don Bradman, Betty Cuthbert, Ron Barassi, Keith Miller, Dick Reynolds and Shirley Strickland.
Bunton was an exceptional footballer who won the Brownlow Medal in his first two seasons —1931 and 1932. He was second in 1934 before winning the coveted award again in 1935.
He then moved to Western Australia where he won the Sandover Medal in 1938, '39 and '41 in his four seasons.
He also played a season for Port Adelaide.
A member of the AFL and Fitzroy Hall of Fame, he died in a car accident aged 44.

You beaut in a ute

No prisoners: the statue of Leigh Matthews on the back of a ute yesterday. Picture: TREVOR PINDER

AS a player and a coach, Leigh Matthews' career was cast in stone. Now Leigh Matthews has been cast in bronze.
The Brisbane Lions mastermind has been immortalised with a towering bronze statue.
The Herald Sun caught the statue yesterday as it was driven across the city from Pootscray's Fun-dere Fine Art Foundry.
It will be unveiled to­day at the MCG when it becomes the eighth of 10 commissioned for the $1.1 million Tattersall's Parade of Champions.
Lethal Leigh's statue, by Louis Laumen, will be unveiled at noon by his Hawthorn teammate and coach, David Parkin.
Arguably the greatest player the game has seen, Matthews won eight best and fairest awards and four flags in his 332 games. _ Sam E(,mi|nd

Formidable: the Hawks' champion skipper.


MCG's Lethal look

Looking every rippling millimetre as lethal as in his heydays on the field, Leigh Matthews fixed his place in history at the MCG yesterday. His Louis Laumen statue, cast at Fundere Fine Art, Footscray, was unveiled by Hawthorn teammate and coach David Parkin.

Herald-Sun" 9 / 8 / 2003

Bronze tribute, golden spirit
NOT for the first time, Betty Cuthbert's jaw dropped at the MCG yesterday.
The original Golden Girl of Australian sport was moved to tears when she saw the new statue of her at the stadium where she won three sprinting gold medals at the 1956 Olym­pic Games.
She cried after the Premier, Steve Bracks, helped her to unveil sculptor Louis Laumen's magnificent bronze depiction of her in full flight as she hits the tape at the finish of the 100m — her mouth wide open.
"I don't know why, but I always ran with my mouth open," Cuthbert said.
"In fact, it threw my jaw­bones out slightly and they still click when I open and close my mouth."
So Laumen got that right. In fact, he got everything right.
The guest list, which included many eminent Olym­pic athletes and officials, was unanimous that the statue, now standing near gate six and light tower two, is a striking work of art.
And Cuthbert, who described it publicly as "abso­lutely beautiful," later con­fided that she was equally impressed by Laumen's tech­nical accuracy.
She said he had captured her sprinting technique of driving off her back leg, and the relaxed manner she adopted.
"It is perfect — there is nothing I would change about it," she said.
The Melbourne Cricket Club has commissioned Laumen to produce 10 statues for a Parade of Champions, all of which will be in place by the time the stadium redevelopment is com­pleted for the Commonwealth Games in 2006.
Cuthbert is the second to be

■ with RON REED
unveiled after Australia's greatest cricketer, the late Sir Donald Bradman.
Football legend Ron Barassi will be unveiled next month, with cricketer Keith Miller to follow.
Footballers Haydn Bunton, Dick Reynolds and Leigh Mat­thews; cricketers Dennis Lillee and Bill Ponsford and sprinter Shirley Strickland-de la Hunty will be the others to line the parade.
De la Hunty, a triple gold medallist herself and a con­temporary of Cuthbert, wasn't at the unveiling, but will be at the MCG today for another function leading into the sta­dium's 150th birthday celebra­tions next month.
The two women — who both live in Western Australia — will watch today's AFL blockbuster between the Brisbane Lions and Collingwood together.
However, it is fair to suggest that even though they won gold together in a relay, they are not close friends.
To pick up on that, you only had to listen closely to well-known Olympic identity Julius "Judy" Patching's tribute speech to Cuthbert yesterday.
Patching was the official starter at the Melbourne Games and, later, a team offi­cial at Cuthbert's other two Olympics, and has always been a close friend and mentor.

Art and soul: Betty Cuthbert sheds a tear after her statue is unveiled at the MCG yesterday. Cuthbert said sculptor Louis Laumen got everything right, down to her open mouth. Picture: BILL McAULEY

He reminded guests that Cuthbert had donated her medals and memorabilia to the MCG's Olympic museum, where they could be appreci­ated by the public.
Others, he said, naming nobody, had "flogged" theirs, which was "quite contrary to the spirit and success of this girl."
De la Hunty sold all her memorabilia last year, with the unidentified buyers giving it to the MCG.
Cuthbert, who has long used a wheelchair because she suf­fers from multiple sclerosis, came close to death when she
suffered a stroke about 18 months ago, and has endured another trauma with a con-man swindling her and her carer and friend, Rhonda Gilham, out of much of their savings.
"Even when she was robbed, Betty wouldn't sell her medals to pay her debts," Mrs Gilham said yesterday.
Be that as it may, the good news is that the museum, which closed yesterday for the duration of the redevelop­ment, now has both sets.
So posterity is the winner. reedr@heraldsun.com.au
WITH one year to go until the start of the Athens Olympics, Australian fans can now apply for tickets for all sports.
The ticket brochure is available from Sydney-based company Sportsworld Pacific.
"We have been delighted by the level of initial interest in travelling to Athens and are confident, thanks to our guaranteed ticket allocation, we will be able to meet most people's requests for specific tickets," Sportsworld general manager Anne Meacham said.

Australia's golden girl
delighted to get a bronze

Betty Cuthbert shows her delight with the statue of her in full flight and with mouth agape. picture: michael rayner Games in 2006.

Larissa Dubecki
Four-time Australian Olympic gold medallist Betty Cuthbert wept yesterday as a statue depict­ing her in full flight was unveiled outside the MCG.
The 2.75-metre bronze work by sculptor Louis Laumen shows her in full stride in her 1956 Mel­bourne Olympics victory in the 100 metres.
Ms Cuthbert, 65, flew from her home outside Perth for the ceremony. "I think (the honour) is absolutely marvellous," she said. "It's exactly like I was ... I always ran with my mouth wide open."
Australia's Golden Girl won three gold medals in Melbourne and staged a remarkable come­back eight years later, winning at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
Her medals reside in the MCG's Australian Gallery of Sport and Olympic Museum.
Now suffering multiple scler­osis and confined to a wheelchair, Ms Cuthbert is well known as a campaigner for fund­ing and education on the debilitating illness.
The ceremony was attended by members of the Australian Olympic Committee and Premier Steve Bracks.
Veteran Australian Olympic official Judy Patching, who fired the starting gun for Ms Cuth-bert's three Melbourne events, described his close friend as "a great athlete, but modest to the point of being humble, and she's proven to be an even greater per­son".
Ms Cuthbert's statue joins one of cricket legend Donald Bradman. They are the first of 10 statues of MCG sporting heroes commissioned by Tattersalls to comprise a Parade of Cham­pions.
Statues of footballer Ron Barassi and cricketer Keith "Nug­get" Miller will be unveiled in coming months, with all 10 statues due to be finished by the start of the Commonwealth Games.

"Herald-Sun" 9 / 8 / 2003
Golden turns bronzed
AUSTRALIA'S golden girl, Betty Cuthbert, sobbed as a statue hon­ouring her achieve­ments was unveiled at the MCG yesterday.
The bronze statue cap­tures Cuthbert in full stride as she raced to victory in the 100m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games.
"I think it's absolutely marvellous. It's exactly like I was ... running with my mouth wide open," Cuthbert said, with tears in her eyes.
Cuthbert won three of her Olympic gold med­als at the MCG for the 100m, the 200m and the 100m relay. She fought off a foot injury to win her fourth gold in the inaugural 400m wom­en's race in Toyko eight years later.
Cuthbert, 65, who lives in Perth, said she was blessed with an ability to run. "A gift to run... was given to me by God and I had to use it to the best of my ability," she said.
Cuthbert, who has battled multiple sclero­sis and almost died after a brain hemorrhage last year, said she hoped her life would encourage young Australians to pursue their dreams.
"If they take on any sport, or anything they really believe in, stick to it, no matter what hap­pens, because you do get setbacks. Stick to it and it will happen for you," she said.
SPORT , Page 76

Golden girl: Betty Cuthbert yesterday. Picture: BILL McAULEY

Sculptor Louis Laumen (above) with a wax mould at Fundere Fine Art Foundry. A bronze pour (right), pictures: rodger cummins

The Age Saturday, September 3,2005
Louise Bellamy
talks to the artists who work in bronze and their relationship with foundries.

Meridian is casting Schip-perheyn's four-metre male nude, Zarathusttra, a Dame Elisabeth Murdoch commission for McClelland Sculpture Park. While most public commis­sions, such as Laumen's, are premised on significant client input, the $300,000 project, Schipperheyn explains, is unusual, in that "after Dame Elisabeth saw the marquette, she supported its progression to a large-scale sculpture in good faith".
Perrin Sculpture Foundry, Cheltenham, may be small but with leading Australian artist Rick Amor on its books, Bill Perrin, who also teaches at the VGA, has run the business for more than 10 years. "I can't put all my eggs into one basket," he says referring to Amor and says Sister Gail O'Leary, a Melbourne-based religious sculptor, is another continued source of work.
Like Coates, Perrin also casts his own work and last month attracted publicity for his three bronze milk crates unveiled at St Kilda's O'Donnell Gardens, a homage to two Aboriginal elders. His Tommy's Story, bronze army clothing placed on a bluestone wall in Beaconsfield Parade, Middle Park, are well-known seaside icons that stop walkers in their tracks.

I N A desolate street in the I industrial heart of West I Footscray, prominent I Melbourne sculptor Louis Laumen is meeting his toughest deadline: the completion of the $1 million Tattersall's Parade of Champions, one of the largest bronze sculpture commissions in Australia's history, to coincide with the completion of the redevelopment of the MCG for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Laumen's "home" for the past two years has been Fundere Fine Art Foundry, where he spends about 500 hours on each sculpture. Several of the 10 bronzes — depicting Australian sports people associated with the MCG — have already been unof­ficially unveiled: cricketers Don Bradman and Keith Miller; footballers Ron Barassi, Dick Reynolds and Haydn Bunton; and athletes Betty Cuthbert and Shirley Strickland.
Laumen is now completing the cast of "Lethal" Leigh Matthews and has Bill Ponsford and Dennis Lillee to go.
In Melbourne's small world of bronze art, which comprises a handful of classic figurative sculptors vying for expensive public commissions, and even fewer foundries, Laumen, 46, has the plum job. And the deluge of work — three times as much as he'd usually handle — is pushing him to new heights.
"My ongoing attraction is the figure in motion. The hardest part is capturing the indefinable presence of a person. As the project continues, my standards are getting higher and higher," he says.
Trained at the Victorian College of the Arts in the early '80s, Laumen's career took a decade to take off, as the classi­cal figures he originally submitted to private galleries "were viewed with contempt". It wasn't until the mid-'90s with his first public commission, of Edward "Weary" Dunlop for the Benalla Rose Gardens (orig­inally rejected in favour of sculptor Peter Corlett's work in St Kilda Road) that Laumen's career took flight.
All the MCG sculptures are 1.5 times life size and begin
with charcoal drawings based on photographs and footage. Laumen then moulds the clay on to hand-made steel armature based on nude models, then dressed models, which he reworks for up to two months. Frequent discussions with the MCG committee also occur.
There is also lots of debate with the technicians, Fundere directors Cameron Mclndoe and Sean Elliott, as the collab­oration between artist and artisan is peculiar to this medium: foundries need artists and artists who work in bronze cannot do it alone. The Brad-man piece, the first to be completed, is a case in point. Initially the MCG committee wanted an action image but the one chosen when viewed from ground level, would have masked Bradman's face with his arm. Later, after discussion between the committee and Mclndoe and Elliott, the image in which the cricketer's famous bat and expression capturing his legendary acknowledgement of the crowd came up trumps.
Foundries need artists and artists who work in bronze cannot do it alone.!
While gas furnaces now melt the wax and electric welding machines put the bronze pieces back together, the process, the lost-wax method, which dates to 2000BC, when it was devel­oped in China, has largely remained the same.
First, the clay model is divided into six or eight pieces, replicated in wax moulds, remodelled to remove any imperfections, invested in ceramic shells and heated in a kiln. The shells are then buried in sand and liquid bronze — melted tin and copper — poured, cooled and water-blasted for hours to remove the ceramic shell. Later the individ­ual pieces are welded back together and the patina applied.
It's a process, Elliott says, "where hundreds of variables that can, and do, go wrong". He
is talking about getting the temperatures and consistencies right and, worst of all, the possibility of dropping the mould in the process.
Elliott is the first to admit Laumen "pays our mortgages" and that rent from the 17 artists' studios "puts the petrol in our cars". Foundries can take anywhere from 15 to 60 per cent of an artist's budget, depending on how much cast­ing is involved. Fundere's share of the MCG job is about 40 per cent, which, Elliott says, covers wages as well as equipment and power over three years.
While bronze is expensive, and therefore competes with other material, its durability is its appeal. 'Apart from a civil war decimating the sculptures, everything we make will be around long after the skyscrapers fall," Elliott says.
The number of Melbourne spaces allocated to sculpture parks at Werribee, Docklands and McClelland Sculpture Park, Langwarrin, as well as the Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen, have their fair share of bronze works as the number of artists using them — including Dean Bowen, John Kelly, Geoffrey Ricardo, Geoffrey Bar-tiett and Lis Johnson for whom Fundere cast — grows.
At Coates & Wood Sculpture Foundry, Collingwood, partner Ewen Coates is a sculptor in his own right and one of 22 sculptors chosen for a national sculpture show in July at the Australian National Gallery. He uses the business to subsidise his art and says "it works well
because the clients and I speak the same language".
The backbone of its work is from Melbourne sculptor Pauline Clayton, who special­ises in contemporary religious images. Because of "the close­ness of the working relationship with Clayton", Wood says they split the budget 50-50. Artists on its books include Peter Blizzard and 2005 Lempriere Sculpture prizewinner William Eicholtz.
Meridian Sculpture Foun­ders, Fitzroy, started by Peter
Morely in 1973, is the oldest — and largest — Melbourne bronze-casting foundry. Before its formation, clay models were shipped to England and Europe for casting.
While Fundere boasts Laumen as its main bread­winner in the public commission stakes, Morely cites "a number of Laumens", including Corlett and Peter Schipperheyn. It also casts for artists Lisa Roet, Ron Robertson-Swann and Maria Kuczynska.

Grace caught
by sculptor

'Herald-Sun" 29 /4 /1999

Legend: Louis Laumen and Grace. Picture: PETER WARD

' I knew that he was a man with a big gut and a huge beard '

ENGLAND'S heroic W. G. Grace, the grandest old man of cricket, would prob­ably have hated the idea.
But he is the subject of a new bronze statue — sculpted in Melbourne by a Dutchman who had barely heard of him.
"All I knew was that he was a man with a big gut and a huge beard," Louis Laumen, a respected Mel­bourne sculptor respon­sible for a widely admired "Weary" Dunlop bronze, said yesterday.
"But that was enough to tickle my fancy.
"I know nothing about cricket. But when I began my research, I found an ap­pealing Edwardian flavor about the man."
The sculpture was com­pleted at the Fundere foun­dry in Richmond, which was also responsible for the Sir Donald Bradman bronze sold at a Melbourne auction last year for $74,500.
It was bought by Sir Do­nald Trescowthick, Victorian chairman of the Australian Olympic Team Fund.
The Grace statue, how­ever, is to be shipped to the UK and given its first airing at the Bristol ground of Grace's old club, Glouces­tershire, on May 16, during a World Cup match between the West Indies and Pakistan.
"We then hope to have it displayed at Lord's for the World Cup final on June 20," artist Cameron Mclndoe, who cast the bronze, said yesterday.
"And after that it will be auctioned in London."
Mclndoe expects both Lord's and the Gloucester­shire club to bid for the work, but they could run into seri­ous opposition: well-heeled British cricket collectors in­clude Mick Jagger, Sir Elton John anr1 millionaire lyricist Sir Tim Rice.
Grace, incidentally, is said to have scored 54,896 runs, made 126 centuries and ta­ken 2876 wickets in first class cricket between 1864 and 1908.
He died of a heart attack after an air raid in 1915 — fittingly during the war that marked the beginning of the end of Britain's world dominance.

"Evening Standard" (London) 9-15 July 1999


Why hasn't the MCC, notoriously slow on the ball, already bought this lifesize W.G. Grace and mounted it with Old Father Time at Lord's? No antique, this superb 1999 bronze recreation of history's most famous cricketer was sculpted by Aus­tralian Louis Laumen, who studied Grace from all angles in the nets using (miraculously surviving) 1907 film footage. Wisden addicts don't need to be reminded that Grace scored 100 first-100s, hit a century in his first Test match (1880), hit the first triple century (344 for MCC vs Kent, 1876), hit the first 2,000 runs in one season (1871) etc etc. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said, 'His huge frame, swarthy features, bushy beard and somewhat lumbering gait made an impression which could never be forgotten.'

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