Orchard, Colorado 1920 — 2002 Madison
Colorado-born Dean Meeker obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the School of the Art of Chicago and embarked in 1948 on a remarkable forty-six-year teaching career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. That same year, fellow artist John Wilde joined the faculty. Wilde belonged to a small group whose surrealist work was dubbed “magic realism.” Although Meeker was not affiliated, several of his early works display similar tendencies in their imaginative landscapes and otherworldly figures.
This curvaceous bronze sculpture of the ancient Greek goddess Athena is the largest and most important work by the multifaceted artist Dean Meeker, who achieved international acclaim for his sculpture and technical innovations in printmaking. The goddess of wisdom, but also handicraft and weaving, was an obvious subject for Meeker, who had studied classical mythology as an undergraduate at Northwestern University and was surely familiar with Athena’s role as a patron of male heroes.