Jeffrey Loria ’62 Dedicates Sculpture to Honor Yale’s President
On Monday, November 18, members of the Yale community formally welcomed a new sculpture to a campus already known for its distinctive art and architecture. Habakuk, a fifteen-foot, bronze work by surrealist Max Ernst, is a gift of Jeffrey H. Loria ’62 and is dedicated to President Peter Salovey ’86 Ph.D. in honor of his inauguration as Yale’s twenty-third president.
Habakuk now stands on Cross Campus, adjacent to William L. Harkness Hall. In remarks, Salovey and Yale College Dean Mary Miller ’81 Ph.D. explained the sculpture’s significance—to art, to history, and to Yale—and conveyed their gratitude to Loria and his wife, Julie. “We are so thrilled that this is here,” Salovey said. “This is the single most humbling gift I could imagine. It takes my breath away.”
Loria, a prominent art dealer and the owner of the Miami Marlins, is perhaps best known at Yale for making a gift to help fund construction of the Jeffrey H. Loria Center for the History of Art, which was dedicated in 2008. He has also donated a number of other important works to the university, including a thirty-foot Roy Lichtenstein sculpture, Modern Head, installed on Science Hill in 1994 to honor President Emeritus Richard C. Levin ’74 Ph.D.
Salovey explained that Ernst was inspired by the writings of Habakkuk, a prophet in the Hebrew Bible. Writing roughly in the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, Habakkuk foresaw the end of the world; a dialogue with God encouraged him to have faith in spite of this. Ernst created Habukuk at a similarly ominous moment: 1934 Europe, as the Nazis were rising to power.
Dean Miller told those gathered that roughly forty places were considered for Habakuk; its location was chosen in part because the surrounding neo-Gothic buildings—Berkeley College (1934), Harkness Hall (1927), and Calhoun College (1933)—provide unexpected context for the modernist sculpture as contemporary works.
(December 4, 2013)