Saul Bellow (1915-2003) was a Canadian-American writer who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the National Medal of Arts. He is the only writer to win the National Book Award for Fiction three times and he received the National Book Foundation’s lifetime Medal for Distinguished Contributions to American letters in 1990. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century’s greatest authors, his best-known works include The Adventures of Augie March, Herzog, Humboldt’s Gift, and Ravelstein.
Bellow was the son of Lithuanian Jews who emigrated to Quebec from Saint Petersburg, Russia. When he was nine, the family moved to the Humboldt Park neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side, the city that formed the backdrop of many of his novels. While he rebelled against his strict religious upbringing, he had a lifelong love of the Bible. Jewish life and identity as a major theme in Bellow’s work, although he bristled at being called a “Jewish writer.” His work also shows a great appreciation of America, and a fascination with the uniqueness and vibrancy of the American experience.
Sarah Miller began studying ceramics and sculpture after retiring from a successful real estate career. She studied in Chicago and in Italy and produced several public sculptures for Chicago institutions during her career. The original cast of this bust of Saul Bellow was installed in the Harold Washington Library in 1993, where busts of Gwendolyn Brooks and Ernest Hemingway were also installed in 1994.
This recent gift to the Skirball Museum has been installed in the third floor lobby of Mayerson Hall.