Jon Gardella, sculptor

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Queen Beatrix visited Gardella’s studio

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With Prince Bernhard

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With the gentlemen Minken and Heineken


Jon ( Jonathan Augustus) Gardella was born in Cooperstown NY in 1948. At age 2 he moved to Weston Massachusetts. At the early age of 8 he was fortunate to come under the protective care of a very stimulating art teacher Bob Lavin. By the time he was 13 years old he had allready learned many techniques; sculpture, painting, life drawing, etching, printing and had visited many museums and art shows.

In 1967 (18) he went to Italy to study at the Academia di Belli Arti in Rome under sculptors Venanzo Crocetti and Pericle Fazzini. Before entering the Academia in Rome he worked in Florence with a group sponsored by the Uffizi Museum for the restauration in churches damaged by the flooding of the Arno river. The beauty of the Renaissance masters and Florence, largely influenced his career as a sculptor.

In 1968 he continued his education in the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam and studied under Paul Gregoire, Piet Esser and Vaarzon Morel where he completed his studies in 1972. His generation of Rijksacademie students are known as “ The group of figurative abstraction”.

Jon’s intensive study trips largely in France, Italy and Greece, drawing in museums and ancient sites has given him a rich insight in the history of art. The ancient Greek sculptors Phidias, Sophocles ect., the French period of Rodin and other sulptors in that period has influenced the development of his own work. The Renaissance in Italy has lead him back through time to the Etruscan culture. Repeated trips to Etruscan settelments, tombs and small out the way museums has shed the magic Etruscan light on his own inspiration.
When in 1986 Jon was asked by opera director Sarah Caldwell of the Opera Company of Boston to be the decor designer for the opera Medea, Jon was able to transform his knowledge of ancient Greece into a wonderful decor of more than 20 very large sculptures, reliefs ( 24 meters long) and architectural structures. Preparations for this grand scale opera involved traveling with Sarah Caldwell to Paris, Berlin, Greece and eventually Israel where the decor set was finally made.

When one visits his studio today one is impressed with his large collection of imposing bronze sculptures, colorful drawings and grafic prints full of movement and emotion . Gardella’s work shows flowing lines, the arabesque, golden ratio and the the smooth transition from one form to the other form.

Gardella is often commissioned by municipalities and government agencies. His monumental bronze sculptures are to be seen throughout the Netherlands; public places, government buildings and business-buildings. His work is in the collections
of: Dutch Gas union, The Philips physics laboratiorium in Eindhoven, ABN-AMRO-bank, Police Groningen, Jumping Amsterdam, Maan, Menzis-medical insurance, Heineken beer, University of Groningen, Straumann company, Museum Wierdenland.

In 1997 the Dutch Queen Beatrix visited Gardella’s studio.

documentary film, made by NPS for TV, is about the work and life of Gardella titled; “Vaart in de Beelden” ( Movement in the Sculptures).