Born: June 11, 1942
Walk outside Busch Stadium in St. Louis or around Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, and you’ll see his work. Or, drive to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in Springfield, where you’ll find his largest collection.
That is, a collection of bronze busts and statues.
For Harry Weber, call it all a labor of love dating back to the late 1970s, and it’s why the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame proudly inducted him with the Class of 2023.
“I like to think of these sculptures as actors that don’t move much,” Weber once told the Princeton Alumni Weekly, based on the campus where he was once a student. “I like to make sure that all of the sculptures that I do are expressive and have an immediate emotional impact, just like theater – it’s three-dimensional static theater.”
Weber was born in St. Louis in 1942 and educated at Country Day School (1960) and Princeton University (1965), where he studied English and Art history.
Weber later served six years in the United States Navy. This included a year on river patrol boats in Vietnam, where he was decorated for his combat experience with a Bronze Star with V for valor and the Presidential Unit Commendation.
In Vietnam, he compiled a compelling series of drawings chronicling his experiences there. Those are on display at the Military Museum on the USS Alabama in Mobile.
As a sculptor, Weber has an international reputation. His body of work includes more than 150 large, commissioned sculptures in public view in 19 states, the Bahamas, China and Africa.
These include historical figures, notables in the arts, politics, and sports in 26 cities across the country.
His sculptures of famous sports figures are prominent features at 15 different professional and amateur stadiums, including Busch Stadium and Kauffman Stadium, Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas and the TD Garden in Boston.
The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame has the largest collection of his work with 37 busts of sports legends, as well as larger-than-life statues of golf’s Payne Stewart, basketball’s Jackie Stiles, baseball’s Stan Musial and Bill Virdon and basketball coach Norm Stewart.
In Missouri, Weber has installed work in 40 different sites, including the Baseball Cardinals Plaza of Champions, Harriet and Dred Scott, Chuck Berry and two groupings depicting the Journey of Discovery, which have been named National Lewis and Clark sites by the National Park Service.
In 2011, he was named Sports Sculptor of the Year by the United States Sports Academy. In 2023, he was awarded a star on The St. Louis Walk of Fame.
Born into an artistic family, Weber was drawing at an early age and carried his sketchbook through school, his service in the Navy and his career in advertising and marketing, according to the Princeton weekly.
As a Master of Foxhounds, he was asked to sculpt a foxhound. It was actually stolen along with some of his other works at a New York gallery, with the heist also including works from Remington, Mene, and Bonheur.
“I was in great company,” Weber was quoted as saying. “The theft was as good as a sale, and that’s what basically started my career.”
It was 20 years later when he earned a series of commissions for large bronze sculptors.
His goal is to make the bronze sculptures look as if they are moving, with bronze being the key.
“It has a great warmth and vitality to it,” Weber said. “It moves, it flows, it carries light well.”
In 1997, the Cardinals hired him to create 10 life-size Hall of Fame players in bronze.
At the time, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame had opened after the 1994 Enshrinement.
Weber was soon commissioned to create two bronze busts in 1999, first of Musial and then Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson.
“I met Harry Weber in 1998,” said Jerald Andrews, who ran the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame from 1995 to 2022. “He is without any question one of the most nationally recognized sports artists in America. We commissioned him to do the Payne Stewart life-size piece and the Payne Stewart Legend bust. He assisted me in putting the Missouri Sports Legend program together with the type of bronze bust we have used. He has done a total of 41 bronze pieces for us. I can’t imagine there being that many pieces of bronze sculptures anywhere else in the nation.”
Overall, Weber has been a great friend of the Hall of Fame.