Internationally-known sculptor John Henry, creator of the Springfield Art Museum’s iconic “French fries,’ died this month at the age of 79.
Best known for his abstract sculptures of steel beams, Henry’s work can be viewed across the globe.
“John Henry works in all scales, from small pedestal or tabletop works to monumental sculptures that tower above the viewer or sprawl along the landscape,” reads the late artist’s website. He passed away at his home in Florida earlier this month.
Since being installed in 1980, the colloquially known “French fries” sculpture has become an iconic symbol of the Springfield community. Rather than actually representing a salty snack, it is an abstract piece titled “Sun Target II.”
The sculpture was shown in Chicago’s Grant Park, New York and Atlanta before finding a permanent home in Springfield.
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According to a Springfield Art Museum Facebook post, Henry personally oversaw the installation of the piece at the museum.
“The Museum was saddened to hear of the passing of sculptor John Henry earlier this month,” the post said, noting “Henry preferred to think of himself as a ‘builder.'”
The museum raised more than $17,000 to restore the sculpture in 2016.
“It has since become a defining piece of Springfield’s cultural landscape and its local identity,” art museum officials said in a statement at the time.

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