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JOHN BERNARD FLANNAGAN
John Bernard Flannagan (1895-1942) was born in Fargo, North Dakota. In 1914 he moved to Minnesota to study painting at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. After a stint with the Merchant Marines, he moved to New York and studied under the painter Arthur B. Davies. With Davies's encouragement, Flannagan's focus soon shifted to sculpture, and after a few years of carving wood, he began working with stone. During the 1920s he had several gallery shows in New York, where he exhibited his small-scale stone sculptures, which he created using a direct carving technique. Flannagan's figures often deal with mother-and-child themes. His style was anti-academic and simplified, as he preferred to preserve the natural shape of the stone, carving only to release a form he believed already to be inside of it. Flannagan won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1932, which he used to travel to Ireland to study stone carving. Upon his return, plagued by alcoholism and depression, he spent several months in a sanatorium. Over the next few years he was involved in two car crashes, which left him with severe head trauma and pain. He committed suicide in 1942. Flannagan's sculptures are part of the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.