Interview The Raoul Hague Foundation
Events Sculptures Scrapbooks Interview
The sculptures of the mid and late forties became more simplified and concise as Hague began to work primarily, then exclusively in wood, and several were included in Whitney Annual Exhibitions during that time. In 1951 he used his G.I.Bill money to travel to Europe. He went first to London, where he audited art history lectures at the Courtauld Institute, then to Paris, Rome and Greece enroute to Alexandria and Cairo for a reunion with his family. Upon returning to Woodstock, it soon became clear that Hague’s work had entered a new phase and had become more fundamentally abstract.

In 1954 Hague brought eight sculptures to New York and made a private showing of them at a friend’s studio, where they found an interested audience of artists and curators. A few collectors followed, as well as a substantial article by art critic Thomas Hess in the January 1955 issue of ArtNews. In 1956 Hague’s work was included in an important exhibition curated by Dorothy Miller at the Museum of Modern Art, "Twelve Americans" which also presented works by Sam Francis, Philip Guston, and Franz Kline. Hague’s work was addressed at length in an article about the exhibition by Leo Steinberg which appeared in ArtNews in July 1956.

As a result of the exhibition, sculptures were purchased by the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Important private collectors such as Joseph Hirshhorn and Burton and Emily Tremaine also bought work for their collections, as did Nelson Rockefeller a few years later. Hague had two successful exhibitions with Charles Egan Gallery, in 1962 and 1965, and his first retrospective museum exhibition, curated by Gerald Nordland, at the Washington Gallery of Modern Art in 1964. He received awards from the Ford Foundation in 1961, the Guggenheim Foundation in 1967, the Mark Rothko Foundation in 1972 and the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1973.

These exhibitions and awards provided Hague a greater measure of financial security than he had ever enjoyed. This afforded him an opportunity to retreat from the New York City art scene which had undergone tremendous changes in the 1960s. During this period of time, Hague’s sculptures became more massive; between the ages of sixty and seventy-five, he made the most monumental works of his career. In 1978 art dealer Xavier Fourcade was introduced to Hague, and presented an exhibition at his gallery in New York the following year. Fourcade died during Hague’s second show there in 1987, and his work has been exhibited regularly since then by the Lennon, Weinberg Gallery.

During the 1980’s and into the early 1990’s, Hague’s work evolved again. The sculptures’ surfaces became rougher and showed more of the tool markings of the chainsaw and other power tools he had used to make the works since the 1950’s. He opened up the sculptures’ masses and worked within them; he used different types of wood and exploited their natural condition and occasional decay in these powerfully original, idiosyncratic late works. On February 17, 1993, he died in his cabin of congestive heart failure following a brief hospital stay. There were two feet of snow on the ground and it was bitterly cold, but the sun was shining and there was a just-finished sculpture in his studio.