Collection Highlight: The Tallest Guy Around

Viola Frey (1933-2004), American, Ethnic Man, 1991, Porcelain, Purchased with funds from the Phyllis Cannon Wattis Endowment for the Acquisition of 20th Century Art, Museum #2000.11.1 a-o

Ethnic Man, a favorite sculpture in the UMFA’s collection, stands 12 feet tall and keeps an eye on the happenings at the UMFA from the balcony overlooking the Great Hall. This massive sculpture was created by Viola Frey (1933 – 2004) a ceramic artist who looked beyond the traditional small scale of that artform. Frey’s sculptures, which can be found at museums throughout the U.S., are monumental in height and often weigh thousands of pounds.

Frey’s signature (her handprint) can be found on Ethnic Man’s foot. Be sure to look for it the next time you are in. Ethnic Man stands ever alert, and waiting for your visit.


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