Maine: An Encyclopedia
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Langlais, Bernard

Abenaki Indian Sculpture in Skowhegan (2002)

Abenaki Indian Sculpture in Skowhegan (2002)

(1921 – 1977) was born in Old Town and learned skills with woodworking from his carpenter father.

In a 2005 review of his life and work, J. T. Leonard of The Times Record in Brunswick noted

When artist Bernard “Blackie” Langlais died in 1977 he left behind hundreds of pieces of artwork, ranging from oil paintings to wooden sculptures and carved reliefs.

Most remained splayed out across the Langlais estate in Cushing. Still others adorn the mantels and cases of private collectors and patrons throughout the state and country.

After a brief stint at art schools, he joined the U.S. Navy at the start of World War II, serving until 1948. In 1949 he returned to Maine, having won a scholarship to the new Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Following additional schooling in New York, Langlais visited France and Norway, gaining broader exposure to differing techniques. In 1966, he and his wife Helen returned to settle on a farm in Cushing, overlooking the St. George River. The decade that followed was a prolific one for Langlais as he focused more on wood and less on painting and canvas. Animals were his principal subjects as he transitions from paintings to mixed-media sculptures.

Birds and Fish

Birds and Fish

The Lion

The Lion

Poodle

Poodle

Two Tigers

Two Tigers


To protect copyright, these selected images of Langlais are minimized.*

According to Maine poet Carl Little,

Langlais’s largest and perhaps most ambitious sculpture is the Abenaki Indian, holding a fishing net and spear, which was created for the town of Skowhegan. “This work is born of the Maine native’s love of nature; the wood, the color and the subject are profoundly indigenous to this particular land and to this particular artist,” said Willard Cummings, a founder of the Skowhegan School, at the dedication ceremony.

Bernard Langlais died in December 1977.

Additional resources

Bernard Langlais Wood Sculptor (moving image cassette). University of Maine at Augusta.

Langlais,Bernard. Bernard Langlais: Independent Spirit. Portland, Me. Portland Museum of Art. 2002.

Leonard, J. T. “Artist’s Legacy.” The Times Record. August 11, 2005, pp. 25, 30.

Little, Carl. “Bernard Langlais.” Maine Boats & Harbors. May 2002, 40-44.

Reef, Pat Davidson. Bernard Langlais, Sculptor. Woolwich, Me.  Kennebec River Press. 1985.

*Images, not including the Abenaki Indian sculpture, from Barridoff Galleries web site, http://www.barridoff.com/index.php?#_68, accessed November 6, 2005.

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