Heri Bartscht was a noted Dallas sculptor and professor of art at the University of Dallas from 1961 until 1990. He worked in wood, stone, clay, and bronze and often his figurative subjects were influenced by his devout religious beliefs.
Born in Breslau, Germany in 1919, Bartscht studied for six years at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and was a two-time recipient of the City of Munich Scholarship. After arriving in Dallas in 1953, his artistic career continued to thrive and garner distinction. In 1954, Bartscht received the top award at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts annual art exhibition. He quickly became involved with the local art community by founding and directing the Dallas Society for Contemporary Arts, the forerunner of the Dallas Museum of Contemporary Art. In 1958, Bartscht helped create a private school of art in Dallas and in 1961 was asked to establish a sculpture program at the University of Dallas, which led to a thirty-year teaching career at the university.
While teaching, Bartscht continued to exhibit his sculptures and contribute to various projects within the Dallas arts community. In 1957, he designed the porte cochère sculptures at 3525 Turtle Creek, the first high-rise apartment building in Dallas. His work was featured in seven solo exhibitions including the Harry Z. Lawrence Gallery in February 1962 and January 1963. In 1962, Bartscht designed the Arete award for the Titche’s department stores. This award was produced to honor excellence in the fashion industry. During the same year, he designed sets for a Dallas production of the Three Penny opera.
In addition to these diverse projects, Bartscht completed over fifty commissions for churches in the Southwest. As a devout Roman Catholic, Bartscht had always been attracted to liturgical art. In 1972, he created the double life size Crucifixion for the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Ross Avenue and in 1982 he constructed the rooster bell tower for the First United Lutheran Church on Mockingbird Lane.