Fr. Joseph Hyde O.S.B Art Retrospective
NCI ARTworks hosted a Retrospective Exhibit of the Life & Art of St. Bede Abbey and Academy’s Fr. Joseph Heyd, O.S.B, on Saturday, September 10, 2022 from 6:30 to 8:30pm at the Westclox building at 400 5th Street in Peru.
Fr. Joseph Heyd (1930-2013) was the chairman of the Art Department at St. Bede Academy. His work influenced and impacted generations of professional artists and art lovers from the Illinois Valley and beyond.
For the first time ever, numerous pieces of Fr. Joseph’s original work were on display at the NCI ARTworks Gallery from September 3 through October 2, 2022. A very limited number of his pieces were available for purchase at the opening reception on Saturday, September 10th and on Sunday, October 2, 2022 from noon to 4pm or by appointment only in the interim.
Fr. Joseph was a special man, beloved and admired by artists and non-artists alike. While his work always flowed from his understanding of compassion and mercy in scripture, it was never heavy-handed. He never forced his interpretation on viewers, he simply offered up his artistic interpretation for consideration and let the art speak for itself. His approach to life and art and teaching was always humble and thoughtful, gaining him a following of art lovers that crossed all religious and cultural divides.
Heyd’s background includes having attended St. Bede Junior College and later earning a bachelor of arts degree from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. Following ordination to the priesthood on Sept. 22, 1956, Father Joseph studied theology for two years at Collegio di Sant’ Anselmo, the international Benedictine university in Rome, earning a licentiate degree.
During his college years he discovered his talent in art, and developed techniques in calligraphy, painting, and sculpture at various institutions, earning a master of fine arts degree from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1972.
In addition to his teaching duties at St. Bede Academy, he renovated the abbey’s round cow barn for use as a sculpture studio equipped with a kiln for the production of both ceramic pieces and bronze sculptures. The studio was destroyed by fire in 1997, and was later replaced by a brick art building at St. Bede that contains a small gallery of some of Father Joseph’s art work.
Among his commissioned works is the bronze statue of world-famous local violinist Maud Powell, which is located in the main square in downtown Peru, Illinois. He also created the statue of St. Mark the Evangelist and his symbolic lion that stands outside St. Mark’s Church in Peoria as well as a bronze statue of St. Francis of Assisi for the village park at Hennepin, an outdoor statue of Mary, Mother of the Church at St. Monica’s Parish in East Peoria (a duplicate is in the grass courtyard at St. Bede), and a steel statue of the Risen Christ in St. Bede Abbey Church.
Signed pieces by Fr. Joe are available for purchase upon request.
A full-color, 11 x 14 hardcover coffee table book commemorating Fr. Joseph’s Life & Art is available for purchase at the NCI ARTworks Gallery or may be ordered by calling: 815-866-5167. $100
This is a cool thing. Fr Joe did an illuminated manuscript for his novitiate project, and we had it at NCIArtworks gallery. It’s not for sale—but it’s incredibly cool: if you know what the Book of Kells is, you’ll appreciate the beauty of this incredibly beautiful illuminated manuscript.