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Emile Norman Works Biography


Emile Norman was born in 1918 in San Gabriel, California. Norman began his professional career fashioning window displays for department store, Bullocks Wilshire, in Los Angeles, California.

He later moved to New York City where he continued to fashion window displays for various department stores including Bergdorf Goodman and Bonwit Teller. His displays were featured in various magazines including Vogue.

During a trip to Europe, he discovered his affinity for working with plastics, especially epoxy resins, which would have a profound effect on his subsequent career.[6][7] Various of his plastic works were featured in a November 1944 article in The New York Times titled “Plastics Shown in Decorative Role”.

In 1946, Norman moved to California’s central coastal region known as Big Sur where he set up a home-studio.[8]

Norman’s lifetime body of work includes sculptures, mosaics, panels, jewelry, and other forms. One of his most prominent works is the 40-by-46-foot mosaic window for the Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco, California, which includes an assemblage of exterior stone sculptures.

Norman often used an innovative technique bringing together various unique admixtures of epoxy resin, crushed glass, plastic, and wood. The created effect is not dissimilar to cloisonne or stained glass and is especially unusual when the artist would craft the layered effect over a wax form which, when later melted away, left behind a 3-dimensional sculpture.[6]

In 2006, PBS aired the documentary film, Emile Norman: By His Own Design, which covered much of Norman’s life.

On September 24, 2009, Emile Norman died in Monterey, California.

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