Beverly Pepper Remembered – and Not Only in Todi
Our Giulia wrote these words shortly after learning about the death of sculptor, Beverly Pepper on February 5, 2020:
“I always referred to Beverly as an ‘incredible’ woman. A word often used lightly but not when referred to a woman and artist like her. It was hard to believe many of her stories and achievements. It is hard to believe how free and strong-willed she was and how incredible is her art. I was blessed to have spent five years working at her side and then having her as a friend, a mentor, inspiration, and the embodiment of the woman I hope to be one day.
RIP Beverly Pepper – you and Bill were as important to me as my own parents in teaching me what life is and how we should live it: courageously, ‘dangerously’ (as you so often said), freely and fully.”
The New York Times Beverly Pepper obituary referred to her as a “sculptor of monumental lightness.” Beverly would have been pleased: “monumental lightness” is so similar to “gentle force,” the term I had used in a past blog note to describe her monumental sculptures. Beverly had read my December, 2018 blog note, “In Todi, Beverly Pepper’s Gentle Force” and was delighted with the the title emphasizing the “gentle force” of her sculptures.
For me, Giulia’s tribute cannot be matched.
I was thinking about Beverly Pepper today as I drove past her sculpture in Assisi, L’Ascensione…
I’d like somehow to pay small tribute to the grandissima Beverly who died at home in her beloved Todi at the age of ninety-seven. I’ll do so now with a note on the show in her honor in April, 2018 in Todi
Todi had honored Beverly with a show highlighting her Todi columns in April, 2018. Four mammoth cort-ten steel columns had been erected in Todi’s main piazza, Piazza del Popolo, in 1979 – and those columns towered in various art shows around the world before finding a permanent home in Venice.
Four Beverly Pepper corten-steeltower replicas were installed in the piazza in April…..
…..and a press conference in the frescoed medieval municipio (“city hall”) preceded the opening of a show in the sculptor’s honor:
At the end of the press conference, the President of the Region of Umbria, Katia Marini (below on the right), was one of the first in a long line of those wishing to compliment Beverly :
After the conference, participants headed to the exhibit “Beverly Pepper – the Todi Columns” in an adjacent stone-vaulted hall. Photos of the 1979 columns in the piazza backdropped Beverly Pepper sculptures:
Exiting the municipio, three of the four columns seemed to be signposts directing us to the cathedral on the other side of the Piazza del Popolo.
Children interacted with the columns and I know Beverly would have approved…..
…but she was over near the cathedral, toasted with spumante and feted by her staff and many fans:
Our Giulia, too, who asked Beverly to sign the program for her as a remembrance:
Like stalwart silent giants, the four columns looked over the piazza until May 2019. In late summer, they were moved into Todi’s Parco di Beverly Pepper – dedicated in September- the first park anywhere in the world dedicated to the sculptor and the first monothematic sculpture park in the region of Umbria.
The park was inaugurated in September, 2019.
Logicamente, we were there.
But that’s another blog note….
Read more about Beverly Pepper in The New York Times
Click here for a note on the “gentle force” of Beverly Pepper