The Sensual Sculpture of Donal Hord

Gifts from the Dyson-Roberson Estate

May 25, 2013 – September 04, 2013

San Diego History Center (SDHC) is the recipient of eight sculptures created by celebrated artist, Donal Hord (1902-1966). The artwork is a donation from the estate of local art collectors, Richard Dyson—who passed away in January 2013—and his partner, Robert Roberson of La Mesa (1999). The two were early advocates of Donal Hord’s work and the collection represents some of the sculptor’s most acclaimed privately-held works which the History Center will display.

Donal Hord was considered one of the most preeminent American sculptors by many in the national and local art community during the early to mid-20th century. At the time Hord was the only local artist to become a full Academician of the National Academy of Design and a Fellow of the National Sculpture Society.

Hord preferred Direct Carving, a process which involves only the carver, the tools, and the medium and shuns the use of working from a drawing. The carver takes inspiration from the medium’s lines and angles, allowing the material to dictate the form and represents a return to the direct approach used in primitive art. Hord worked mainly with hard materials like jade, onyx, and granite in stone and rosewood, mahogany, and lignum vitae in woods.

Hord’s public art can be seen today at Balboa Park’s House of Hospitality, in front of the entrance to the Prado restaurant, at the County Administration Building, the current San Diego County Library, San Diego State University, and in Seaport Village.