Ex Libris

Date Installed:
October 1996
Art Located at:
Commissioned by:
Deer Path Art League of Lake Forest (Individual benefactors and donors are listed on a plaque in situ.)
Michael B. Croydon (1931– ); fabrication by Daniel T. Blue (1957– )
Artist Biography:

Michael Croydon was born near London. His first drawing was a pastel of his father, an Anglican vicar. He was educated at Goldsmiths College of Art, the Ealing School of Art, and the Royal College of Art. His work in architectural sculpture began in the early 1960s, when he was teaching in Kenya. He joined the Lake Forest College faculty in 1968. Croydon wrote the "definitive" book on painter Ivan Albright. Marlon Brando commissioned Croydon to create a bronze bust of himself for his California home.

Born and educated in England, Michael Croydon taught at Exeter College of Art in England and the University of East Africa, before accepting a position at Lake Forest College in 1968, where he taught painting, photography, drawing, art history, and sculpture. He retired in 1995. Croydon works primarily in a figurative and expressionistic vein, which combines the searching realism of Rodin and the stark power of Marino Marini, and many of his later works features geometric/organic constructions utilizing mixed media. His work is internationally recognized and represented in public and private collections throughout Europe, the United States, Canada, Africa, and Japan.

Art Description:

Six pieces in varying heights and widths, generally to human scale, arranged in a convex arc out from the building and down the slope.

Ex Libris refers to the Latin term used on bookplates ("from the books of …"); the phrase was suggested by Trustee Louise Glasser. In Professor Croydon's words, "Ex Libris manages a highly respectful updating of the image of the Library through this sculpture's modern form but with its profound homage paid to traditional information and knowledge." The two-year process of planning and implementing this sculpture was a testimonial to the passion that art inspires.

The sculpture entitled Ex Libris, designed by Michael B. Croydon and fabricated by Daniel T. Blue, was commissioned by the Deer Path Art League for the Library’s Centennial. The title of the sculpture is a reference to the Latin term used on bookplates meaning "From the books of ..." Each of the six elements of the sculpture represents books or groupings of books, more or less as if arranged on a shelf. Like humans—both children and adults—the books vary in height, width, and depth. All seem to be well-worn; the patina reflecting the earth and sky. Growing out of a deep appreciation for the classical, antimodern inspiration behind the original 1931 Library building, Croydon explains that his work "manages a highly respectful updating of the image of the Library through the sculpture’s modern form, but with profound homage paid to traditional information and knowledge."