Shaping Arizona Statehood: The George Stuart Historical Figures of the Movement West

Shaping Arizona Statehood: The George Stuart Historical Figures of the Movement West

January 31, 2012 - April 15, 2012

George S. Stuart creates one-quarter-life-size portraits of individuals who were the driving force that shaped history throughout the world. This exhibit brings together fourteen Figures from his Movement West group that represent more than 400 years of New World discovery and exploration carving the path to Arizona Statehood in 1912. Exquisitely crafted with lucid detail, Mr. Stuart’s Figures revel in the presentation of an honest (though not always pleasant) portrayal of history.

Mr. Stuart’s talent is unsurpassed in rendering life-like historic portraits. He doesn't rely on skill alone to create his works of art, but carefully researches the physical and biographic history of each subject he chooses to portray; therefore his historical figures are as unique as the counterparts they depict. These highly detailed Figures capture the personal side of these very public personas. There is a magic to Stuart's miniatures; because they are amazingly accurate and authentic, an encounter with these Figures feels like a meeting with individuals whom you’ve only read about in history books.

"Miniatures draw the viewer into each experience in a very personal and contemplative way. History in small bites becomes more manageable and details almost indelibly memorable because the perspective requires us to seek out and package information in a novel way. As miniatures bring history alive, we are captivated, opened up, empowered and amazed – allowing another dimension to our knowledge and understanding of the past."

- Mini Time Machine Museum Executive Director, Nina Daldrup, 2012

Shaping Arizona Statehood: The George Stuart Historical Figures of the Movement West, includes 15th century Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella; reminding viewers that the path to Arizona statehood was rooted in Spain’s desire to expand their power and religious beliefs beyond Europe. Christopher Columbus, Pope Alexander VI, Hérnan Cortés and Malinche, Montezuma and an Aztec Leopard Warrior, as well as Father Eusebio Kino define the European conquest of the New World from Mexico into present day Arizona. Jedediah Smith, Kit Carson, Abraham Lincoln, and Territorial Governor John Fremont and his wife Jesse take us through the 19th century and the development of Arizona as a Territory, which it was for nearly 49 years before becoming the 48th and last of the contiguous states to enter the Union in 1912.

Artist Biography

Artist, historian, and raconteur- these are descriptions that aptly suit George Stuart, a student and practitioner of all three disciplines for more than fifty years. Mr. Stuart’s life work grew from a desire to meet the artistic challenge of creating life-like sculptures of individual personalities. Since the 1940s he has rendered more than four hundred historical portraits in mixed media and continues to create Figures to this day. Ventura County Museum owns approximately 200 of the Historical Figures, the Historical Figures Foundation owns an additional 100, and the remainder are in private collections.

From the late 1950s until 1979 Mr. Stuart was traveling throughout the Midwest and West coast as a raconteur. During that time he was writing and presenting monologues about the characters he portrayed in mixed media.