Marble and Stone - A Polish Sculptor - Edmund Ast
Edmund Kasimierz Ast Working in a Marble Yard
The Sculptor, My Grandfather
My grandfather, Edmund Ast, was born and raised in Poland. He obtained a university degree in art, specializing in sculpture and design. This was quite unusual at the time; not many young men in Poland in the 1920's had the opportunity of pursuing their education beyond the primary or maybe the middle grades. They certainly didn't have the opportunity to continue their education, much less pursue a university degree.
Edmund was fortunate. His father, my great grandfather owned a business, a wood working factory that made - furniture, cabinets, caskets. The factory employed 10-15 workers, which meant my great grandfather was upper middle class and quite well off financially.
Not that he believed he was well off; there are family stories about how tight he was with money: hiding his wealth under the proverbial floor boards, keeping his wife on an extremely strict, no, a stingy grocery budget. Nevertheless, there was enough money to live in a "villa" a nice substantial house with surrounding gardens and to send his son Edmund to university.
When Edmund began working, he received commissions from the wealthier families who purchased caskets from the family business. Edmund was a tireless worker and a perfectionist. Soon he was designing and building graveside markers and memorials.
Graveside Markers and Memorials
Other Commissions and Designs
In time Edmund received requests for other kinds of statues and stonework. He did exquisite carvings in marble, wreathes of flowers and leaves. He also carved an eagle and worked on a number of figures in marble. I have photographs of only one mythological piece - Hercules, in the Greek Heracles, wrestling a young lion.
Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures that show that sculpture from the front and the photograph shows what appear to be large baby bottles sticking out of the sculpture. Those were later removed and we are not entirely sure what they were. It is possible the stone was especially porous and allowing moisture to seep in slowly minimized the likelihood of the stone shattering while under the chisel and mallet.
Intricate Carving, an Eagle, Hercules in Battle
Discoveries in a Basement
When my father died, we found a variety of decorative stone details one might use in a garden and six large metal cases full of chisels and other stone-working tools in the back corner of his basement. The cases seemed unusually heavy and when we opened them we found the tools submerged in a high quality oil. They hadn't been used in 25 years and they were in perfect condition. The oil my grandfather poured into each case prevented air and water from pitting or rusting the surface of the tools.
In 1951 after surviving both the brutal Nazi invasion and the equally brutal Soviet occupation of Poland, Edmund and his family emigrated to the United States. It is very likely that they survived World War II and the Holocaust because they were Catholic and because my great grandfather had money.
They eventually settled in Marietta, Georgia and bought a house on "Marble Mill Road." It was a pretty street not far from the town square, where tall oak trees shaded two story homes with wide front porches. As you continued down the road the houses gradually became smaller, little one story cottages and bungalows. The road curved gently and then dead ended at the entrance to a small stone quarry. Which of course, is where my grandfather and his oldest son, who would be my father, first found work in their adopted country, America.
The story continues....
Books on European History
Art, Painting, Batiks, Sculpture
- Abstract Pictures - Abstract Paintings
A look at abstract pictures and a view of abstract painters and their work. Understanding the abstract art movement is key to understanding real art.
- Floral Abstract Art Paintings
Flowers make everything handsome. Not only that, it also brings a relaxing and relaxing regard. This is the grounds why artists regularly use flora as themes for their paintings. Floral abstract art...
- Abstract Watercolor Paintings by Wanda Ast
This is a selection of abstract watercolors, all done by Wanda Ast in her fifties and sixties. Mrs. Ast experimented with a variety of watercolors and painting mediums as well as a variety of painting surfaces - canvas - paper - cloth - in an effort
- Paintings by a Polish-American Artist
A selection of oil paintings completed in the 1960's and 1970's by a Polish-American artist who survived the Nazi, and then the Soviet, invasions of Poland during World War II, and who subsequently emigrated to America with her husband and four child
- Stone, Steel, and Bronze: Ten Great American Memoria...
1. Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri. Defiant of gravity, at least seemingly, the Gateway Arch was completed in 1965 as part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Its graceful curve, reaching 630 feet,...
- Batiks: Ancient Process ~ Modern Art
Batik which is patterned cloth created by using layers of wax and multiple dye baths are both extremely beautiful and time consuming to create. This essay contains general information about traditional batiks and specific information about a twentiet
- A Painting Style All Her Own - Wanda Maria Ast
Wanda Maria Ast emigrated from Poland in 1951 and settled in Georgia. There she raised her four children. As soon as she felt she had a good command of the English language she began writing poetry. In her sixties and seventies she began painting in
- Stone Carving: How to Carve Sandstone
Carving sandstone is challenging; however, the artistic pieces you create are spectacular and worth the effort. Decide what design you want to carve on sandstone and whether it will be a sculpture for your garden or a relief for a wall in your home.
- Stone Carvings of Cambodia
- Ancient Greek Architecture
A trip through Greece is a wonderful opportunity to visit and marvel at the Classical Greek temples, statues, and ruins. They are scattered across the Greek mainland and each is worthy of a visit.
- The Influence of Ancient Greek Architecture
Ancient Greece is often considered the cradle of the western world. Its art, literature, political thought, and even its very language have influenced western society for thousands of years, and continue to influence us today. One very obvious area..
More by this Author
Pondering what the German people knew at the time about the Nazi goals and activities can lead to a number of questions which are relevant for us today.
In their oral history testimonies, letters, questionnaires, interviews, and journals American soldiers explain why they did not accept German protestations of ignorance and innocence. GIs from the 42nd, 45th, 71st,...
Americans often assume that most German civilians knew next to nothing about Hitlers Final Solution and were unaware that the SS controlled and administered the concentration camp system. While the death camps were...