Chuck's Legacy: 70 Creative Years
Charles Eugene Gagnon was born on February 24, 1934, to Eugene and Inez Gagnon in Minneapolis, MN. From an early age, Chuck expressed a love for art, often drawing and carving soap, wood, clay, and even potatoes. When he wasn't experimenting with art, Chuck competitively played golf, baseball, and speed skated. After Chuck reached high school age, the Gagnon family strictly kept their tradition that all their boys go to De La Salle High School. Chuck created his own job - diving into golf course ponds to retrieve golf balls - to help pay for his education. After graduating high school in 1952, Chuck joined the Navy and later earned his Master’s (1960) degree from the University of Minnesota. In 1957 through 1958, he was one of ten US students chosen to teach in military-dependent schools in Germany.
Chuck began his career as a professional sculptor in 1960. He dedicated his life to creating beautiful bronze sculptures that inspire peace and uplift the human spirit. Gagnon's bronze sculptures are enjoyed throughout the world. One major commission is highighted here in each of his seventy creative years.
Saint Francis and The Birds was Chuck's first Heroic size sculpture which took two and a half years to create. Research into the life of Saint Francis was done Assisi, Italy . The sculpture was commissioned by Saint Mary's hosptial and unveiled in 1969. Saint Francis is a symbol of hope and peace.
Renaissance Man and Woman, Gambier, Ohio, was commissioned by a graduate of Kenyon college and unveiled 1973. It took two and a half years to create. It is dedicated to the spiritual rebirth through the liberal education of Kenyon students. The sculpture inspires students to explore the many opportunities presented after graduation.
Rochester commissioned Gagnon to enlarge his Peace Fountain to 12 feet high for the Peace Plaza center of the city. The sculpture was cast in bronze and dedicated to world peace in 1989. The 57 peace doves represent the 50 states, and the 7 continents. The 3 doves at the top represent the past, present, and future.
Gagnon's Celebration of Life bronze sculpture was commissioned by a Chicago art collector who renamed the sculpture the Emergence of Life. This sculpture of two larger than life figures was prominently displayed in a private sculpture garden. The sculpture was a symbol of hope and joy. It was featured in Chicago's Home and Garden magazine. The sculpture took 7 years to create.
Gagnon was commissioned by an art collector in Germany to create a 17 foot high peace fountain as his legacy to the German people. The sculpture was created in the Art Foundry in New York City during 9/11. The following year it was dedicated to world peace in Germany.
Gagnon's flying hawk was commissioned for Hawksview Estate on Saint John Island in the US Virgin Islands, Caribbean. Hawksview Estate was featured in Architectural Digest. Another version of the flying hawk is in the Sculpture Garden at the Gagnon Museum.
Gagnon's legacy continues with a posthumous cast of his Wild Flowers for the Kay Caskey Garden within the Gagnon Museum's Sculpture Garden. Kay Caskey was a master gardener in the Rochester area. Three of Gagnon's beautiful Wild Flowers epitomizes his love of nature. The Wild Flowers enhance and complement the beautiful flowers around it.
Dedicated in 2022.
Wild Flowers bronze in Art Foundry NYC 2021