Mr. Lawrence “Larry” Monroe Ludtke was a Houston sculptor best known for extraordinary bronze likenesses he created – four US presidents, countless legendary Texans, decorated US military heroes – as well as numerous other commissioned portraits, bas reliefs, and figurative sculptures, many of monumental size. With his uncompromising attention to detail, anatomy, and proportion, Ludtke was a primarily self-taught disciple of classical sculpture who did spend some time studying under sculptress Waldine Tauch from San Antonio who in turn was a student of the Italian master, Pompeo Coppini. Ludtke honed his skills in the classical manner of creating sculpture – first in plastiline clay, to a plaster mold, and then utilizing the lost-wax method of bronze casting. Ludtke’s works were created without the use of enlargement, digitization or any other modern technology that is used today, rather he preferred to work in the same manner as the classic sculptors such as Auguste Rodin and Augustus Saint- Gaudens. His figurative sculptures are represented in prominant institutions across the United States including the United States Air Force Academy; Johns Hopkins Medical School; MD Anderson Cancer Center; Rice University; Texas A&M University; the University of Texas at Austin; Texas State University; Southern Methodist University; CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia; The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum; The Pentagon; The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library; the National Battlefield Park at Gettysburg, Maryland; the United States Naval Academy; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Nellis Air Force Base; and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute in Simi Valley, California, and Washington, DC. He has fulfilled commissioned works of many famous personalities and heroes, including US Presidents John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Others include Winston Churchill, John Wayne, Congressman Maury Maverick, Congressman Henry B. Gonzales, Col. Arthur D. “Bull” Simons; General Sam Houston, Babe Zaharias, General “Wild Bill” Donovan, astronaut Ed White, Howard Hughes and famed Texas heart surgeon, Denton A. Cooley. Ludtke also created significant liturgical art. The most notable are a life-size Pieta’ for St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, a Christ and Child for Travis Park Methodist Church in San Antonio, and the Christ Head located in the chapels of both the US Air Force and Naval
In the nineties, the artist created twenty-two portraits heads and logos in bronze for the American Quarter Horse Association in Amarillo, Texas, and seven relief panels depicting the World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients from Texas A&M University, located at the Sam Houston Sanders Corps of Cadets Center. Additional pieces in Texas include a seven-foot figure of Gen. James Earl Rudder which stands on the grounds of Texas A&M University as well as a life-size figure of Gen. James F. Hollingsworth on the Corps quadrangle. Larger than life-size figures of Albert B. Alkek and his wife, Margaret, were dedicated at the Alkek wing of MD Anderson Hospital, and two full figures bas reliefs of Jesse Jones and his nephew, John Jones, are located at Jones Hall in Houston. Six life-size children are located on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol in Austin. An eight-foot figure of Maj. Richard J. “Dick” Meadows and another eight-foot sculpture of Col. Arthur D. “Bull” Simons are both located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Ludtke was born and raised in the Houston, where he lived all his life, maintaining a studio alongside his home. Towards the end of his career, he created a nine-foot figure of General Robinson Risner for the plaza of the United States Air Force Academy, a life-size figure of John F. Kennedy for the city of Fort Worth, life-size figures of legendary coach Darrell K. Royal and prominent lawyer Joe Jamail, which are in front of the University of Texas football stadium in Austin. His work was completed by the creation of life-size figures of Vice Admiral William P. Lawrence and Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale, both located at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Leading up to his career in sculpture, Mr. Ludtke attended Texas A&M University and graduated from the University of Houston, played professional baseball for six years with the Dodgers organization and later worked for the RIddell and Spaulding Sporting Goods company, prior to becoming a full-time sculptor. It was in the late 1970’s that Mr. H. Ross Perot began to commission Ludtke for the many military pieces positioned around the country. Ludtke is a Fellow in the National Sculpture Society and also a Corresponding Member of the Royal Academy of British Sculptors.