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Aristides Burton Demetrios

(b. 1931)

Contemporary Modernist Sculptor in Bronze & Stainless Steel

by Jaimie Lillienstein

Aristides Demetrios is one of California's most important contemporary sculptors, with over fifty private and public commissions internationally.

Table Of Contents

I. Biography

Aristides Burton Demetrios was born and raised in Massachusetts. His father, George Demetrios, was a classical sculptor, trained by Bourdelle, a student of Rodin. His mother, Virginia Lee Burton was the renowned author and illustrator of children's books, including Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, and The Little House, for which she won the prestigious Caldecott prize. After graduating from Harvard College, Mr. Demetrios spent three years as an officer in the Navy and then studied at the George Demetrios School for three years. In 1963, he won his first national sculpture competition when his proposed design was selected for a major fountain commission on the campus of Stanford University (The White Memorial Fountain: "Mem Claw" ). Shortly thereafter, he was chosen to be the sculptor for a public art commission in Sacramento in front of the County Courthouse; subsequently, he was selected by David and Lucille Packard to design and fabricate the sculpture to grace the entry to the Monterey Bay Aquarium (Forms Sung In A Kelp Forest).

After successfully completing a series of monumental public sculptures (The 92' Wind Harp in South San Francisco; The Bataan War Memorial on the Island of Corregidor, Flame of Freedom; the 80' sculpture Cosmos, the fountain Peirine in New York, Breakthrough, etc., Mr. Demetrios turned his attention to smaller works for private collectors. In the last few decades, he has designed, fabricated and installed a large number of commissioned works for the gardens of private collectors, including a great many bronze fountains. In addition, he has had several gallery and museum shows featuring his figurative bronze sculptures, like "Trixter", his abstract bronze sculptures, like "The Cube", and his painted or patinaed steel sculptures, like "Tomorrow's Dreams", the vast majority of which are now owned by private collectors across the United States.

In 2002, Mr. Demetrios won the "Santa Barbara Beautiful Award" for the most beautiful work of public art; the award recognized Mr. Demetrios for the design and fabrication of the 18' bronze fountain, Mentors, which serves as the focal point of the Santa Barbara City College, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The Fountain was donated to the campus by Eli Luria and Michael Towbes, two revered Santa Barbara philanthropists, both of whom have Demetrios' sculptures in their own private collections.

Mr. Demetrios, who goes by the name Aris, shows his work in several galleries, and in his studio in Montecito, California, where he resides with his wife Ilene.

II. SGTV Video

"Gardin de las Granadas - Aristides Demitrios"
Produced by Jeremy Tessmer
Narrated by Frank Goss

For the opening of the Gardin de las Granadas, Sullivan Goss worked with the city of Santa Barbara to install four works by the artist.

To watch this video click on the image to the left.

III. An Analysis of the Artist's Work

IV. Education

  • Harvard College, BA History and Literature 1953
  • George Demetrios School of Sculpture 1956-1959
  • V. Exhibitions

    One Man Shows

  • 1962 Golden Gate Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  • 1965 Stanford University Union, Stanford, California
  • 1967 MH De Young Museum, San Francisco, California
  • 1980 San Francisco Gallery, San Francisco, California
  • 1981 Lyman Allyn Museum, New London, Connecticut
  • 1985 Victor Fischer Gallery, Oakland, California
  • 1987 Gallery 30, San Mateo, California
  • 1988 Triton Museum, Santa Clara, California
  • 1989 Lanetti Lanzone Gallery, San Francisco
  • 1990 Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, Carmel California
  • 1992 Michael Dunev Gallery, San Francisco
  • 1994 Triton Museum, Santa Clara, California
  • 1996 Creighton Davis Gallery, Washington DC
  • 1997 Baraka Gallery, Washington, DC
  • 1998 Addison Ripley Gallery, Washington DC
  • Group Shows

  • 1968 Northern California AIA
  • 1976 Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Downtown Center
  • 1980 Gloucester, Mass Lyceum
  • 1981 San Francisco AIA
  • 1982 International Sculpture Conference Invitational
  • 1983 Brook House Gallery
  • 1984 Hastings Law School Gallery
  • 1985 Civic Arts Gallery, Walnut Creek, California
  • 1986 San Francisco Sculpture Festival
  • 1988 Bay Area Bronzes
  • 1989 Gallery Des Arts Quotadien, Paris, France
  • 1990 Beyond the Frame AIZA, Palo Alto, California
  • 1991 Michael Dunev Gallery, San Francisco
  • 1992 Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, California
  • 1993 Bay Area Bronzes, San Francisco, Design Center
  • 1994 Santa Clara Civic Center, Santa Clara, California
  • 1995 Michael Dunev Gallery, San Francisco
  • 1996 Herbert Palmer Gallery, Los Angeles California
  • 1997Creighton Davis Gallery, Washington DC
  • 1997 Addison/Ripley Gallery, Washington DC
  • 1997 Cape Ann Sculptors 100 Years, Rockport Art Association, Rockport, Massachusetts
  • 1998 George Krevsky Gallery, San Francisco
  • VI. Competitions & Awards

  • 1964 White Memorial Competition
  • 1964 Alameda County Competition
  • 1965 CVAIA Award of Excellence for PROTEUS
  • 1967 Pacific War Memorial Competition
  • 1968 San Francisco Hall of Justice Competition
  • 1972 L.A.C.C. Award for PRIMAVERA
  • 1975 A.I.A Honor Award for VINEYARD
  • 1982 A.S.L.A. Award of Merit for Discovery Sculpture Park
  • 1986 Merit Award for Fawcett Residence Program
  • 1990 Award for Natoma Station Art Program, Folsom
  • VII. Collections (selected list)

  • Royal Pacific Motel, San Francisco Sun and Wave 1962
  • Sonoma Mortgage Company, Santa Rosa, CA Spray 1963
  • Stanford University, Stanford, CA White Memorial Fountain 1964
  • ALCO Park, Oakland, CA Renaissance 1964
  • Sacramento County Courthouse, CA Proteus 1965
  • Fashion Island, Newport Beach, CA Sky Divers 1967
  • Corregidor Island, The Philippines, Flame of Freedom 1968
  • The Prudential, Los Angeles, CA Primavera 1971
  • First National Bank of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ Arizona 1972
  • Sawyer Free Library, Gloucester, MA Sea Harvest 1977
  • Our Lady of Fatima Church, Modesto, CA St. Joseph, St. Mary 1979
  • EBSCO Headquarters, Birmingham, AL Fountain 1981-82
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, CA Forms Sung in a Kelp Forest 1984
  • Marine World Africa USA, Vallejo, CA A Fanfare of Dolphins 1986
  • Entrance Plaza, The Corinthian, New York City, NY Peirene 1988
  • Pacific Concourse, Los Angeles, CA Celebration 1989
  • Kawea Hospital, Visalia, CA Bronze Fountain 1992
  • VIII. Bibliography

    1. Davenport. “Art Treasures of the West.” Sunset Magazine: 1966.
    2. Mendelwitz. “A History of American Art.” Rinchart: 1970.
    3. H.U.D. “Artists in America.” 1973.
    4. Hockaday. “At the Garden of San Francisco". Timber Press: 1988.
    5. Loewer. “American Gardens.” Simon & Schuster: 1988.
    6. Murray. “Home Landscaping.” 1988.
    7. Katz. “The Fountains of San Francisco.” Lexicos: 1989.
    8. TELEMEDIA "Breakthrough: A Portrait of Aristides Demetrios; Prize-winning documentary by Eames Demetrios, first shown in April 1987 on KQED-TV, San Francisco. Distributed by Home Video Artists Series: 1987.