JOHN NELSON BATTENBERG  -  December 2, 1931 - July 8, 2012

In Memory of John Battenberg

Marshall | LeKae Gallery

John Battenberg
In Memoriam

We regret to hear of the passing of our accomplished artist friend, John Battenberg, whose work has provided endless fascination for art-lovers on Scottsdale’s vibrant art beat.

John’s bluff, Falstaffian character actually masked a sweet, tender-hearted nature and any of his friends was called with the English accolade, “Love.” His royal name (i.e. “Mountbatten”) deserved the regal bearing he maintained despite the recent malaise. His mustachioed mouth spoke in dulcet mid-Atlantic tones; he could not conceal his Oxford education or his anglophile sensibilities.

John always had high expectations of people – he simply expected their innate humanity to resonate with his artistic expression and technical skill. He was a patient and loyal friend in the good and the latterly not-so-good times in the fine art business. John often would pop into the gallery unannounced. He loved to sit in “his” room and muse before his creations, transported into that other realm that only artists really know. We last saw him just a few weeks ago, when he protested that he was off to the studio, regardless of his physicians’ warnings. His presence was always quietly authoritative and stately and, when he would leave, one could feel the void behind him.

John loved life and was determined to live it – he went off to California just a few weeks ago and called the gallery from there to check up on things – he was firmly attached to his role in life.
John Battenberg never was satisfied with the ordinary in art. He was a rampant individualist and wanted to create in a singular way – as we observe both in his aggressive animal sculptures and, latterly, the multi-layered underwater art with its luscious, three-dimensional translucence.

John was ever warm and generous to us at the gallery and we all admired his cheerful determination when confronted with tough odds. He always was his charming self and deflected any concern for his well-being with an admirable, “press-on-regardless” manner.
We shall miss our John – what a good chap! We extend our condolences to his loved ones. He is not forgotten and one day we will renew our friendship in an even better place. The world certainly is a much better place for John Battenberg having lived in it.


In Memory of John Nelson Battenberg

Tom Bollinger - Bollinger Atelier

Posted by Chequamegon Bollinger on July 23, 2012

The first thing that always comes to mind when I think of John Battenberg is that he, to me, is an artist’s artist. After nearly 40 years in the sculpture world, I consider John one of maybe five “real” artists that I have had the good fortune to have known, worked for, and with.

I first officially met John when I purchased Arizona Bronze in 1997. I, of course, had known of John and his sculpture prior to that time, but had never had the opportunity to meet him. Needless to say, I was not expecting a somewhat direct interview situation, as John grilled me on my experience and approach to fine art sculpture production. Having passed the “test”, John became one of our most prolific clients at Arizona Bronze, now Bollinger Atelier. We were proud to produce many of John’s most important sculptural works. John became my friend and included a likeness of me as the Scottish Drummer in the Procession of Men on the “Gate Project”. Many of his friends were included in the panel.

He also painted a portrait of me as a younger self in my BASE jumping gear in front of Angel Falls. His kindness, often times hidden by his gruff exterior, was in my opinion, John’s true self.

Although to some people John may have at first impression to be somewhat direct, I came to know that he was actually a sentimentalist, though tempered with a sharp mind and tongue, which did not suffer fools gladly.

I know from visits to John’s studio in Scottsdale and his most recent gallery exhibition that John continued to expand his artistic interests and direction of his work.

I wish now I had been able to spend more time with John and Lynne, maybe just one more lazy afternoon, sipping a nice red wine and discussing sculpture. I will miss John and feel so fortunate for having had the opportunity to know and work with John Battenberg, true artist!

Thomas Jefferson Bollinger