Donal Hord (1902-1966) is well known in California for his sculpture, which is in public spaces and institutions throughout the state. The artist made his home in San Diego and many of his pieces can be found there today--in the city's Central Library, the collections of the San Diego Historical Society and Museum of Art, and at the San Diego Zoo. Hord was widely acclaimed for his unique sculpture in hardstones such as jade, obsidian and diorite, but he also used woods such as Mexican rosewood and mahogany. His subjects were usually figural, heroic in bearing and often majestic in scale. He produced few bronzes. This sculpture, 'Descending Sun', was orignally created in 1943, of lignum vitae. He did not cast the piece in bronze until 1964, and only one cast was made.
A catalogue of Donal Hord's work published by the San Diego Historical Society lists his entire body of work in sculpture-- only 157 pieces in a lifetime of work. Although his work was exhibited throughout the United States mid-century, in such important shows as Americans 1942 held at New York's Museum of Modern Art, he was never a part of the New York/East Coast art scene, and his work never enjoyed the same recognition in the East that had been earned in the West.
Hord's work was overlooked for decades in historical surveys of American sculpture but more recent shows, such as the major retrospective of his work held at the San Diego Historical Society in 1999, reaffirm his significant place in the history of 20th century American sculpture.