Aurelia Roma, 1994
Italian marble
75 x 15 x 18 inches
Laumeier Sculpture Park Commission, with funds from Aurelia and George Schlapp

Manuel Neri peels away peripheral elements from a block of stone to arrive at the essential in a search for the expressive nature of figural form in his work Aurelia Roma, 1994. Posed serenely in the center of the pool on the Estate House Terrace, Neri’s simplified female hearkens back to the marble goddesses of Greece and Rome. He distresses the surface with studied chisel blows that define areas of texture to contrast with polished areas, creating an intentional ruin.

Sculpture Interaction Guideline: Look, But Do Not Touch


Manuel Neri was born in Sanger, California, in 1930. He studied at several schools between 1951–58 including the California School of Fine Arts, the California School of Arts and Crafts and the University of California, Berkeley. Neri taught at the University of California-Davis for 25 years before retiring from teaching in 1990. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship in 1979; a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1980; and a Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award from the International Sculpture Center in 2006. He has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally at institutions including the Denver Art Museum; the San Jose Museum of Art; the Isetan Museum of Art, Japan; the Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna, Austria; the Seattle Art Museum; the San Francisco Art Institute; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington. In 1983, Laumeier mounted a solo exhibition of Neri’s work.