Art Collection at the Library
The Tewksbury Public Library received several donated pieces of art from the Mico H. Kaufman RVOC Trust which are on display in the building. Models of the large public statues found in Tewksbury are located in our Fairgrieve browsing wing. Two of the first floor lobby display cases house a collection of his many pewter miniatures as well as a few other models. The second floor includes two framed cases of historical medals. The frames were built by Kaufman himself.
The second floor also has four photographs of the statues in Tewksbury that are located at the end of the non-fiction shelving. These photos were taken by John Zipeto and donated by Joan Unger.
The Library is proud to display the artwork of the renowned sculptor who made his home in Tewksbury for so many years.
Mico Kaufman was born on January 3, 1924 in Buzeu, Romania, where he grew up with his parents, Adele and Herman Kaufman and two siblings. A self-taught artist, he learned to draw and sculpt through experimentation with different mediums.With the escalation of the Anti-Semitic movement throughout Europe during World War II, Kaufman eventually found himself spending three years digging trenches in a Nazi concentration camp until his release at the age of 21. In 1947, at the end of the war, he left Romania for Italy where he began his formal art training in sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. He later transferred to the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence to continue his studies. At the age of 27, Kaufman immigrated to America with his wife and daughter, settling in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1956, Kaufman became a United States citizen.
In 1965, Kaufman received his first commission as a designer. Eventually he worked for several professional sculpture studios in Boston before opening his own studio in Tewksbury. During the late 1960s and 1970s Kaufman's career took off, winning commissions to create medals for the celebration of the 1976 U.S. Bicentennial as well as other historical events. He created close to 200 medals. He is the only sculptor in American numismatics to have been commissioned for four official presidential medals. Many of his works can now be found in museums, including the Smithsonian Institution, British Museum, Brandeis University, American Numismatic Society and private collections all over the world. He has exhibited in many locations, including Boston, New York, Florence, London, Lisbon, Portugal, Helsinki, Budapest, Krakow, Colorado Springs and Lowell, Massachusetts.
Kaufman also created large scale sculptures and monuments. His most well known include a seven-foot statue of artist James McNeill Whistler for the Whistler House Museum of Art; a bronze statue of Claude Debussy, which appears at both the University of Massachusetts Lowell and at St. Germain-en-Laye, France, birthplace of the famed composer; a five-figure sculpture of mill girls in Lowell, Massachusetts titled HOMAGE TO WOMEN; a sculpture called TOUCHING SOULS, of four children from different ethnic origins literally touching the soles of their feet as they sit spread-eagle in a circle in Tewksbury and outside of the Tewkesbury Abbey in its sister city of Tewkesbury, England; WATER. his sculpture of Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller outside of the the Tewksbury Town Hall; SPIRIT OF THE MARATHON, installed in Marathon Square in Marathon Greece and at the one mile marker in Hopkinton, Massachusetts; WAMESIT INDIAN located close to the Lowell line in Tewksbury; and MUSTER, an homage to firefighters, located by the South Fire Station in Tewksbury.
Kaufman also carved dozens of pewter miniatures, many in a series, such as Legendary Americans or Moby-Dick. Several were produced as limited editions and/or signed by the artist. Each tiny sculpture was sectioned in ten pieces, then each piece was individually cast. Finally, it was all reassembled with pewter solder.
Mico Kaufman died in 2016.
(Biographical information obtained from SculptSite.com and other sources)