José de Creeft was a Spanish-born American artist, sculptor, and teacher known for modern sculpture in stone, metal, and wood, particularly figural works of women. His 16 foot bronze Alice In Wonderland climbing sculpture in Central Park is well known to both adults and children in New York City. He was an early adopter, and prominent exponent of the direct carving approach to sculpture. He taught at Black Mountain College, the Art Students League of New York, and the New School for Social Research. His works are in the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and many other public and private collections.
For de Creeft, the creative process was his life; if he wasn’t carving a piece of stone or wood, he was creating his own tools, which allowed him to produce more exacting results. His method of carving allowed him to be a part of the entire process of creating a finished piece, one which was not defined as the result of a preconceived determination, but instead as a result of the unbridled spontaneity necessary for artistic fulfillment. Each sculpture embodied his philosophy that the relationship between the artist and his body of work is reciprocal rather than hierarchical. De Creeft responded to each stone, marble block or piece of wood individually, allowing each to evolve from the relationship between the artisan and the innate personality of each material.