Edward J. Fraughton was born in Park City, Utah in 1939. A local sculptor whose works appear nationally, he is known for his works of western themes. He lives in South Jordan, Utah.
Fraughton graduated from the University of Utah in 1962 with a BFA in sculpture. While at the University he studied with Avard Fairbanks and Justin Fairbanks. After graduating, he studied techniques of bronze casting.
Fraughton's first commission was the Mormon Battalion Monument now owned by the Presidio Park in San Diego. In 1973 he won the first competition of the National Academy of Cowboy Art for his sculpture Where the Trail Ends. The Last Farewell won a gold medal at the National Academy of Western Art. Fraughton's work has been exhibited at the National Academy of Design (1976–78, 1980–81) and at the National Sculpture Society (1974–81).
Biography adapted from Springville Museum of Art.
Edward J. Fraughton was born on 22 March 1939 to Clara Jane Ackerlund Fraughton and Ellis Joseph Fraughton. Raised in Park City, Utah, Edward's interest in art was encouraged by his mother and step-father Charles “Zip“ C. Nelson. Edward's mother, who once met the noted sculptor Avard Fairbanks, collected newspaper clippings on the artist's career and shared them with him. Another of Fraughton's early influences was the artist Arnold Friberg.
Interested in sculpture at an early age, Fraughton was fascinated by trinkets and toy sculptures. He would spend hours examining his play set of toy horses and soldiers, studying how each piece was formed. He noticed that both sides were mirror images of each other with a seam in between. Even then, he felt that the pieces were somewhat lacking in design. This would be an issue that he would resolve as his own sculpting skills developed.
One particular incident that influenced Fraughton's growing interest in art occurred while he was attending Marsac Elementary in Park City. One day he decided to draw, from life, a pencil drawing of a gingerbread Victorian train depot that he passed by each day on his way to and from school. Pleased with the result, Fraughton decided to show the finished drawing to his fourth grade teacher Alene Gibbons. Making no comment on the quality of the piece, she asked Edward to recreate the drawing in crayon. Again, he didn't receive any comment the next day when he turned in the second drawing. It wasn't until the end of the school year at the final assembly that Mrs. Gibbons announced, with a smile, that Edward's drawing won the 1949 Milton Bradley Company's “America the Beautiful“ Crayon Art Competition. Edward was awarded a plaque inscribed: “First Place Award for crayon art, adjudged by a board of nationally famous artists, the most outstanding in the entire state among pupils in the fourth grade.“
From this time on, Fraughton spent much of his time doing local art projects while he continued to draw and create little stories drawn from his imagination. Popular subjects were horses and Western themes. His interest in sculpting continued to grow. As an adult, Fraughton attended the University of Utah where he earned a degree in civil engineering. He remembers, “I thought, this is great, if I'm going to do monumental sculpture, and I don't even know where that idea came from, with the study of civil engineering I'd have all the geometry, math and engineering classes behind me. These classes I felt would really help me in building armatures, casting pieces, etc.“
During the last quarter of his freshman year, Fraughton enrolled in a drawing class from Professor Ed Maryon. While teaching his students “how to LEARN to draw“, Maryon instructed: “Concern yourself with the ends of the lines and the middles will take care of themselves.“ When Fraughton applied this principle to sculpture, he realized that “stance, gesture, form and emotion must be characterized through properly placing these points of articulation. Then, the details of muscle and drapery tend to take care of themselves.“ While at the University of Utah, Fraughton also studied sculpture with Dr. Avard Fairbanks and Justin Fairbanks. During this time, he became quite knowledgeable about the history and tradition of sculpture.
Edward Fraughton describes his work: “My quest as a sculptor has been to sculpt a three-dimensional design. Sculpture should never be designed from a narrow point of view. The best sculpture makes you move around it. A painter directs your eye from one part of the picture to another, the sculptor surrounds it.“ He is well known for his monumental concepts and heroic sculptures of historical and contemporary subjects. He also sculpts wildlife subjects.
Fraughton is a founding member of the National Academy of Western Art and a longtime member of the National Sculpture Society. He also holds membership with the San Francisco Bohemian Club and the Society of Animal Artists. Fraughton has won many major national awards and his sculptures are represented in collections and galleries worldwide.
Fraughton's works range in size from medallions to monuments, including portraiture, bas-reliefs, narrative bronzes, medals and plaques. Major commissions include The Mormon Battalion Monument (1968), Presidio Park, San Diego, California; The Spirit of Wyoming (1986), Cheyenne, Wyoming; All is Well, Salt Lake City, Utah; Winter Quarters, Florence, Nebraska; The Cadet (1991), Randolph-Macon Academy, Fort Royal, Virginia; and Monument to Education, Ricks College, Rexburg, Idaho.
Biography courtesy Springville Museum of Art.
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