Thinking about art |

Thinking about art

Putting their heads together, a father and son continued a family tradition that has kept their neighbors thinking about next year’s work of art.

Two days after Christmas, George and his father, Dick Pryor, spent six hours creating a replica of “Thinking Man,” the famous Rodin sculpture. It was a follow-up to last year’s “Venus De Milo,” a famous Greek statue.

Their creation is located at the corner of Freel Peak and Los Angeles streets in South Lake Tahoe.

Like last year’s snow creation, the 8-foot high sculpture has stopped people on the street to gawk at the works of art, some even having their pictures snapped standing next to it.

The face of “Thinking Man” points toward the house so that the family can look directly at the sculpture outside their front window, while gawkers can see the back from the street.

“A lot of people just stop and look at the back. If we’re outside, we’ll invite them to the front for a look,” Dick Pryor said.

At first the men considered doing the Statue of Liberty, but changed their minds after they thought about it.

“The Statue of Liberty is a great symbol of our country. The thought of doing a sculpture and having it melt and decay made us change our minds,” said George Pryor, who lives in Orange County. “We wanted to do something that was graceful, not symbolic.”

Logging onto the Internet, George Pryor went through about a dozen Web pages until he found a site with Rodin’s famous sculpture. An avid sketcher, he then penciled out the image including details such as facial lines, and muscle tone.

From there, he and his father went to work.

The project took about six hours to complete. First, the men shoveled a pile of snow into a mound. Then they started in with their hands shaping the mound.

Twice they had to rework the legs, and at one point, after completing the head, it fell off the body. In order to get it to stay on, they moved the head somewhat back, straying from the original sculpture.

“I’m sure Rodin would be turning over in his grave if he saw the adjustment,” George said.

While the men are pleased with their work, they haven’t given much thought to next year’s sculpture. Perhaps it will be on a whim again, George Pryor aid.

“We’re hack artists who want to keep a tradition going,” he said modestly. “But it’s nice to know people like what we do.”

Jeff Munson can be reached at

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