| The George Washington University | | The GWU Art Galleries |



Arthur Carter


“He tempers the architectonic feel of these bronze and steel structures with an organic lyricism. Many of his works make mathematical of musical allusions.”
- Lance Esplund











Artist: Arthur Carter (b. 1931)
Title: Suffusion, 1999
Steel and bronze on granite base
12’ spherical
Gift of the artist, 2002
Location: South lawn adjacent to Lisner Auditorium, Kogan Plaza


In Suffusion, Carter uses the principles of the Golden Mean to achieve harmony between the individual parts and a sense of balance and stability to the whole. The Golden Mean (also called the Golden Section and Divine Proportion) is a ratio derived by the ancient Greeks in which the ratio of the smaller part to the larger part is the same as the ratio of the larger part to the whole (see diagram). It is found in the growth of many natural objects such as the spirals of a shell, the curve of a fern, and even as a general guideline to the proportions of the human body. Used by many architects and artists over time, the Golden Mean dates back to the construction of the Great Pyramids and the Parthenon. Leonardo da Vinci used it to define the proportions of his painting, The Last Supper, 1495-1498 and since, many artists have used the Golden Mean as a method of achieving a sense of balance in their works, including artists as diverse as Georges Seurat, Piet Mondrian and Salvador Dali.

The Golden Mean

| 1-x | x |

The line AB is divided at point M so that the ratio of the two parts, the smaller to the larger (AM and MB), is the same as the ratio of the larger part (MB) to the whole AB.

When installed on Kogan Plaza near 21st Street, NW, Carter and President Trachtenberg agreed that Suffusion would be aesthetically pleasing to the numbers of students and faculty that pass through the gracious space and that its color and form harmonized with the campus. A bronze (with black patina) sculpture standing 5 feet high was done in 1999, and was probably the prototype for GW’s version. Another, smaller, version of the piece was installed at 100 United Nations Plaza on November 18, 2004. The sculpture is painted blue for GW’s colors, and the scale was increased to 12 feet to complement the vista set up in the University mid-campus. At night, the glow of the lights in the base and reflections off the garden wall on the side of Lisner Auditorium, softens the effect of the sculpture’s placement, especially when the wisteria is in bloom.

His most recent solo exhibition was Arthur Carter: Sculpture at the Salandar-O’Relly Galleries in New York.





sec 4
sec 5
sec 6