David Hare; Sculptor, Painter

David Hare, a sculptor, painter and photographer best known for his early welded-metal abstract sculptures but who devoted most of his later career to painting in the tradition of European surrealists and abstract expressionists, died Dec. 21.

Hare, a prominent figure among the first generation of so-called New York School artists, was 75 and died in Jackson Hole, Wyo., after an emergency operation for an aortic aneurysm. He lived in Victor, Ida., his family said.

Hare was born in New York City; his father was a lawyer and his mother was an art collector. He was raised in Santa Fe, N.M., and Colorado Springs, Colo. After graduating from the prep school his mother founded in Colorado Springs, Hare began working as a photographer for the American Museum of Natural History, where he was assigned to photograph American Indians of the Southwest. Those portraits were first exhibited in the 1940s on the East Coast.

Hare became interested in the European surrealists who had come to the United States during World War II, and in the early 1940s taught himself to sculpt. His abstract animals and convoluted forms proved popular, but he tired of the years that it sometimes took to complete an idea and abandoned sculpture for painting in the late 1950s, although he continued to work under the influence of surrealism.

In 1977, the paintings, drawings and sculptures he had done in the preceding 10 years were exhibited in a widely praised exhibition at New York's Guggenheim Museum.

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