Remembering David Hostetler

David carving Lacewood copy

David Hostetler 1926-2015

Part of a Continuing Series on Nantucket Artists

Art touches us in so many ways: it adds beauty, opens our eyes and hearts, helps us see our world in a new way, and not least, is a legacy to the artist whose work is left behind on earth for new generations. David Hostetler, who passed away in November, was a wood carver and bronze sculptor of works capturing the female form, whose career spanned 69 years. He and his wife, Susan Crehan Hostetler, spent the winter months on a 40 acre farm in Ohio, and summers on Nantucket. Nantucket is home to the Hostetler Gallery, which will remain open, where Susan will continue to sell Hostetler art..

hostetler gallery

David played drums in his own jazz band on the island, too. That’s the wonderful thing about artists. It’s hard to pin them down. So often, they turn their hands and their talent to more than one discipline, as if the ideas that filled them had to spill over into other art forms or else overflow. Here’s how David explained it:

Summertime Lady

Summertime Lady

“My life centers around artful choices, the life rhythms, shapes and spaces, and their infinite combinations. My lover, my nest, carving on a log, drumming, woodland meditation and archery are involved. The coming together of art, rhythm, forms and space can be magic. The quest for this magic gives my life purpose and provides my joy of being.”

david hostetler 3

The IKON at The Sheffield on West 57th Street in New York City

David was the creator of a series of original works that were inspired by goddesses and celebrated women of historical significance, according to the artist.

Hostetler The Duo

The Duo can be seen at Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York City. Although the heads are looking in different directions, the fused bodies speak of total commitment.

David said he based his entire life’s work on capturing the spirit, romance, and earthiness of the feminine.

david hostetler 4

“My 69 year art career has been a continuous quest of the nature of woman. It has led me from the contemporary woman as mother, wife, nurturer, to vamp, seductress, and queen. Now the journey harkens to the pre-biblical period, to ancient civilizations of women-centered societies. My focus is the Near East with Minoan, Cretin, and Cycladic imagery. Their ascendancy was from 12,000 to 500 BCE.”


Guardian, in Zebrawood

In a world where women’s bodies, rights, and intelligence are not universally honored, its is wonderful to see ourselves through David’s eyes. “The goddess represents the all-encompassing power of woman, the manifestation of humanity as a part of a whole, part of the cosmos and part of nature: an image that men and women can embrace equally.”

david carving

His ideals found beautiful fruition in his works, which appear in more than 25 museums and galleries, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey, and the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio. His pieces are found in public collections from Nantucket to New Mexico to the Netherlands.

davids studio

David’s Studio in Athens, Ohio

Born in Ohio, David had a close relationship with his Amish grandfather, an influence that remained with him throughout his life. After graduating with a BA in Education from Indiana University, he obtained a Masters of Fine Arts from Ohio University, then taught for 38 years. In addition to his artwork and teaching, he trained as an engineer, worked as a farmer and a salesman, owned a commercial pottery factory, and created an art commune.

david and susan hostetler

David and Susan Hostetler

His contributions to the world of art are many and diverse. David was an integral member of the Nantucket community. He will be missed. A memorial will be held to celebrate his life on July 17th at the Hostetler home on Nantucket.

david hostetler