His Last Sculpture

Jeptha Barnard Bright, Jr., known as Barney, (July 8, 1927 – July 23, 1997), was a well-known Kentucky artist.  He was born in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and spent his career as an artist in Louisville as a foundry owner and sculptor.  Many of his commissioned statues can be found around Louisville, such as, the Louisville Clock, the River Horse Romano in front of the Ron Mazzoli Federal Building, the Floating Nudes in front of the Legal Arts Building, and in the city’s famed Cave Hill Cemetery marking the graves of luminaries like Saundra Curry Twist and Harry Leon Collins. His work can be found outside the Louisville area, as well. For instance, Bright was commissioned to create a statue of legendary basketball player Julius Erving for the City of Philadelphia.

Barney Bright created his own cemetery monument, too—reclining nudes of himself and his wife.  His wife, Gayle, is depicted as a young woman and he is depicted as an old man.  Reportedly, the Cave Hill Cemetery Association was not pleased with the erotic pose of his monument.  They, however, relented and allowed the monument to mark his grave.  It is yet another bronze that commemorates his life and a long, successful, and esteemed career.

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