Ward Montague (1898-1987)

Ward Montague (1898-1987). Head of Buddha, 1930’s. Carved limestone. Signed near base “Ward Mont”. Excellent condition with no restoration. As this is an outdoor garden sculpture, there is minor pitting and subtle discoloration from lichen growth. The piece was probably made and exhibited for the NYC outdoor sculpture exhibitions that took place in the 1930’s. 



Ward Montague was born in Covelo, California, in 1898. He served in World War I and began sculpting as part of the vocational training he received. Montague went on to study at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, and with Fernand Leger, Jean Charlot, and Emilio Amero.

Montague lived in San Francisco through the late 1920s, where he worked with Ralph Stackpole, whose direct-cut techniques were a major influence on Montague’s own work. He also worked in Mexico City with Diego Rivera, and exhibited in San Francisco at the Art Association and the Modern Gallery in 1926. In 1927 Montague’s drawings and woodcarvings were exhibited in a group show at the East West Gallery of Fine Arts, along with the work of Ruth Cravath, Jacques Schnier, and Parker Hall.

By 1929 Montague was living and working in Los Angeles, exhibiting his drawings and wood sculpture at the Bullock’s Wilshire gallery along with Clifford Wight. He continued to exhibit at Bullock’s Wilshire in 1930, and also exhibited his drawings in a show at the New Gallery, which also included the work of Stanton Macdonald Wright, Lorser Feitelson, and James Redmond. In 1931 Montague’s work was included in a show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and in 1934 his watercolors and drawings were exhibited in Hollywood’s Stanley Rose Bookshop to favorable reviews.

By 1937 Montague again had relocated, this time to New York City, where he exhibited his watercolors of Mexican scenes at the Delphic Studios. His work also was shown in the 1937 Sculptors Guild exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and in the late 1930s Montague participated in the city’s Outdoor Sculpture Exhibitions and gave demonstrations of wood sculpture at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. In the early 1940s Montague served on the faculty of New York’s Universal School of Handicrafts, and his sculptural work was included in the National Academy of Design’s annual exhibition in 1942.

Montague eventually returned to the West Coast, and by 1949 was active in the art community of Northern California’s Marin County, where he continued to paint and sculpt, and where he was an enthusiastic member of the Marin Society of Artists and the Marin Sculptors Association. Ward Montague passed away in Mill Valley, California, in 1987.

Universal School of Handicrafts, New York, NY

San Francisco Art Association, CA
Modern Gallery, San Francisco, CA
East West Gallery of Fine Arts, CA
Bullock’s Wilshire, Los Angeles, CA
New Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA
Stanley Rose Book Shop, Hollywood, CA
Delphic Studios, New York, NY
Brooklyn Museum, NY
New York World’s Fair, 1939
National Academy of Design

Edan Milton Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940
Daily Independent Journal, San Rafael, CA, 1949-1961
Los Angeles Times, 1927-1934
New York Times, 1937-1942
Oakland Tribune, 1927-1930