Hugh R. Butt (1910-2008)

Hugh R. Butt, The Long Road to Usefulness, 1989
painted steel and hardware
57 x 31 x 8 1/4 in.

Hugh R. Butt was born in Delhaven, North Carolina, in 1910. He earned his B.A. from the University of Minnesota and his M.D. from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1933.  As a doctor on staff at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Butt is also a self-taught artist who creates metal sculptures. In the 1980s he made a series of sculptures using antique tools he had collected. The artist wrote that this group of sculptures “signifies my belief that it sometimes takes a long time before tools find their proper usefulness.”

Excerpted from Tools as Art: the Hechinger Collection, published by Harry N. Abrams Inc.