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Jason Seley


Gender: Male

Date of Death: June 23, 1983

Birth Place: Newark, NJ

Death Place: Ithaca, NY

Jason Seley


Jason Seley, a sculptor and dean of the Cornell University College of Architecture, Art and Planning, died yesterday at Tompkins Community Hospital in Ithaca, N.Y., after a long illness. He was 64 years old and lived in Ithaca.

Mr. Seley, a professor of sculpture at Cornell since 1968, was chairman of the department of art from 1968 to 1973. He became dean of the college in 1980. He taught sculpture from 1965 to 1967 at New York University, and from 1953 to 1965 at Hofstra University.

His gently humorous work was marked by angular and hollowly curvilinear pieces marked with holes welded together from junk. He worked with slightly used chromium-plated steel and automobile bumpers artfully contrived so that viewers were sometimes unaware that they were looking at a bumper. Gift Valued at $200,000

In January 1983, he gave Cornell the sculpture “Herakles in Ithaka I,” an interpretation in automobile bumpers of the Farnese Hercules. The statue stands about 11 feet tall and took 14 months to make. It has since been valued at $200,000.

One of his best-know pieces is “Colleoni II,” a bumper version of Verrocchio’s monumental equestrian statue. It was bought by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Foundation and is part of the permanent exhibit at the Empire State Plaza in Albany.

Among the museums in which Mr. Seley’s work is shown is the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New Jersey Cultural Center in Trenton and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottowa.

Mr. Seley was born in Newark, N.J., and graduated from Cornell in 1940. He came to Manhattan to study with Ossip Zadkine at the Art Student League from 1943 to 1945. In 1949 he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for a year’s study in Paris.

He is survived by his wife, the former Clara Kalnitsky.

Published in The New York Times, (NY) – June 24, 1983

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