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Outsourcing hits sculpture foundry

March 29, 2004 at 1:48 PM

PRINCETON,, N.J., March 29 (UPI) -- The fires for fine art castings at the foundry built by J. Seward Johnson Jr. in New Jersey are burning lower, a victim of outsourcing.

Johnson, heir to the pharmaceutical fortune and a major American realist sculptor, is organizing a new sculpture workshop that will use three-dimensional digital enlarging machines to send specifications to China for cheap casting of sculpture, according to a report in The Art Newspaper.

The workshop will replace the foundry established by Johnson near Princeton in 1974 to cast his own figurative sculptures and work by other artists including George Segal, Charles Ray, Joel Shapiro, Kiki Smith, and Beverly Pepper. Johnson has put his son, John Johnson, in charge of the new workshop project, the publication said.

Johnson closed the Princeton foundry in February after cutting the staff in December from more than 100 to 40 due to financial problems. The foundry is still operating to finish a few current commissions.

The multi-millionaire artist was reported to have been covering the firm's deficit with his own money. The foundry also served as a workshop in casting and stone carving.

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