Avard T. Fairbanks

Avard T. Fairbanks

Avard Tennyson Fairbanks
Studied At/With
Art Students League of New York
Jean Antoine Injalbert, National School of Fine Arts, Paris
Guggenheim Fellowship, Italy
Yale University
University of Washington
Michigan University
Born 2 March 1897
Died 1 January 1987

Avard Fairbanks

Born in Provo Utah to John B. Fairbanks, an artist famous for having painted murals in some of the early temples and a professor of art at the Brigham Young Academy (now BYU) in Provo, Avard Fairbanks comes from a family of artists. His brother, J. Leo Fairbanks was an artist like their father. Avard’s son, Jonathan Leo Fairbanks is a sculptor in his own right and was curator of the Boston Museum of Fine arts in the early 90’s. Avard’s nephew Ortho Fairbanks was also a prolific sculptor, creating many works as well as finishing many of Avard’s works that were in progress when he passed away.

Avard Fairbanks was a lifelong student and teacher. He studied sculpture at the Art Students League of New York, at the National School of Fine Arts under Jean Antoine Injalbert in Paris, and the Guggenheim Fellowship, in Italy. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, a master’s degree from the University of Washington, and a PH.D. in anatomy from the University of Michigan. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon, a teacher at the Seattle Institute of Art, an Associate Professor of Sculpture at the University of Michigan, and was the first Dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Utah.

Avard sculpted the friezes around the crown of the Laie Hawaii Temple, some of the sculptures on the temple grounds there, and the oxen for the baptistry font. He also sculpted many works for Temple Square including busts of some of the prophets, The Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood monument, Restoration of the Melchezidek Priesthood Monument, and the 3 Witnesses Monument .

Avard worked closely with the automotive industry during his time at the University of Michigan. He created the Plymouth Mermaid Hood Ornament for Chrysler Corporation, often known as “The Flying Lady,” in exchange for a brand new 1932 Chrysler Royal Eight to drive to and from the school each day. Chrysler Corporation would contact him again about creating a hood ornament for their Dodge Automobile company. It was Avard that created the first Dodge Ram Hood Ornament, a symbol that would continue to be used even today in the form of the Dodge Ram badges that are the company’s symbol. Avard also created the original Hudson Griffin Hood Ornament. Additionally, he is often credited with teaching the auto industry how to use clay instead of wood to mock up automobile styles and ideas.

Fairbanks carved a statue of Lycurgus for the city of Sparta in Greece. It was so well received that it led to his being knighted by King Paul of Greece.

Gallery of Fairbanks’s Work


Scott Lloyd “‘Another Angel’” ldschurchnewsarchive.com 20 September 2008
J. Michael Hunter “I Saw Another Angel Fly” Ensign, January 2000.
Jim Benjaminson “The Story of Avard T. Fairbanks” allpar.com.
Eugene Fairbanks “The Life and Work of Avard T. Fairbanks, Sculptor” fairbanksartbooks.com.
“Dr. Avard Tennyson Fairbanks: a bit more history” fairbanksartbooks.com.
“Avard Fairbanks – A Short Biography of the Sculptor” rheafamily.org.

Fairbank’s Moroni

Avard T. Fairbanks's Angel Moroni, Washingtron D.C. Temple (Photogent.com)