David Hare, best known as a sculptor, was a member of the first generation of New York School artists. He was born in 1917 in New York City and grew up in a family of artists. His mother, Elizabeth Sage Goodwin, was an art collector and supporter of the Armory Show of 1913, and his uncle, Philip Goodwin, was a trustee and original architect of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. During the 1930s, while living in Roxbury, Connecticut, Hale worked as a color photographer and met artists such as Alexander Calder, Arshile Gorky, and Yves Tanguy. He was most intrigued by the explorations of the psyche and of mythology in the art of Gorky and Tanguy, European Surrealists who had recently immigrated to the United States.
In New York Hare continued as a photographer, operating a commercial photography studio, but during the early 1940s, he became fully engaged with Surrealism, working with Andre Breton, Max Ernst, and Marcel Duchamp in editing the Surrealist magazine VVV. Though he had no formal training in art, he started making abstract sculpture inspired by Surrealist forms and motifs. His sculpture was composed of biomorphic forms combined in complex arrangements with symbolic overtones. Hare received wide-acclaim for his work, and he began exhibiting at leading New York galleries, including Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of this Century and at the Samuel Kootz Gallery. While his sculptures of the mid-1940s were usually made of plaster, Hare later worked in cast bronze and from the early 1950s, in welded metal.
An artist of eclectic character, Hare worked in various media, seeking forms and materials that would express his ideas most effectively. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, he briefly abandoned sculpture and turned to painting. The Phillips Collection’s Mountain Night is from this period and exemplifies Hare’s mysterious, symbolic compositions. Although he returned to sculpture in the 1970s, the Hare also continued painting until 1980s. His paintings expanded his sculptural ideas, in some cases evoking a sense of the mysteries of nature, and in others, those of mythological and legendary subjects, much like the themes explored by the Surrealists and Abstract Expressionists.
Hare was also active as a teacher, holding positions in a number of locations, including the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore and the New York Studio School. His works were exhibited in the United States and in Europe and collected by many art museums, including The Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In 1985, Hare moved to Victor, Idaho, where he continued to work until his death in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in 1992.