Gib Singleton, a 1955 graduate of Granite City High School, is the only American artist whose work is included in the permanent collections of The Vatican and The Cowboy Hall of Fame as well as many other museums and private collections.
GRANITE CITY — Former Granite City resident Gib Singleton will be remembered from 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, at the newly renovated Six Mile Regional Library District, 2001 Delmar Ave.
Fifteen of the late artist’s iconic sculptures will be on display.
Karen Foss, a former KSDK news anchor, will emcee the memorial at 2 p.m.
Singleton, a 1955 graduate of Granite City High School, is the only American artist whose work is included in the permanent collections of The Vatican and The Cowboy Hall of Fame as well as many other museums and private collections. Singleton’s profound sculptures of religious figures and western figures — heroic and humble — embody a unique sculptural style he characterized as “emotional realism.”
“There are a lot of things that make no ‘objective’ sense if we try to analyze them,” Singleton said. “But they do make sense — a great deal of sense — if we approach them with our hearts instead of our heads. That’s how I try to work. I’m decorating someone’s heart, not their living room.”
Singleton’s Illinois connections run deep. After graduating from GCHS, Singleton served in the U.S. Army. He returned to Illinois to study art at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and later at the Chicago Art Institute. Singleton was then awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to The Accademia in Florence, Italy, where he was recruited to help repair Michelangelo’s Pieta. After returning to the United States, Singleton established a foundry and art gallery in Granite City. In pursuit of his vision of the American Old West, Singleton eventually settled in Santa Fe, N.M., where he lived at the time of his death in February. Singleton’s final sculpture was an emotional tribute to one of his Illinois heroes, Abraham Lincoln.
A chance encounter with Singleton’s work at Galerie Zuger in Santa Fe reunited Granite City High School classmate George “Bucky” Sturmon with Singleton. As they rekindled their youthful friendship, Sturmon became a foremost collector of Singleton’s work.
Sturmon’s collection is on display at the recently renovated Six Mile Regional Library District’s downtown library through October. The works are some of Singleton’s most acclaimed limited edition sculptures including The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Aces and Eights and Tombstone. Also in the collection is a one of-a-kind wooden sculpture, Madonna, made from Mississippi River driftwood. Singleton said when he found the driftwood, he saw in it a vision of the Madonna and he also used it as a model for the bronze Madonna sculpture also on display.