Rose Van Vranken Hickey

MADISON-Rose Van Vranken Hickey, local artist, died on Monday June 17, 2003.  She was ninety six. Born on May 15, 1917 in Passaic, New Jersey; Rose was raised in Pasadena, California. From an early age, she developed a passionate interest in art. She graduated Cum Laude from Pomona College in Claremont, CA in 1939; following upon which she spent three years at the Art Students League in New York City studying sculpture under renowned carver William Zorach. She also had a scholarship in Art History at New York University's Graduate Institute of Fine Art. On June 11, 1942, she married Robert C. Hickey MD in NYC, and in 1943 obtained an MA degree in sculpture from the University of Iowa, where Dr. Hickey was completing his internship in surgery following upon his graduation from Cornell Medical School in NYC.

After a brief period back in NYC, the Hickeys lived in Iowa City, in Madison, WI., and in Houston, Texas. In each of these places, while Dr. Hickey pursued his medical career, Rose became deeply involved in the local Art scene. For Example, she was an instructor in sculpture and drawing at the Madison Art Center Museum between 1965-1968, an instructor in sculpture at the Jewish Community Center in Houston from 1970-1972, instructor in sculpture at the Art League of Houston 1972-1974, and taught sculpture in wood at Rice University from 1975-1977. She was also a regular exhibitor at galleries in both Houston and in Madison, as well as in many major national and regional shows.

Throughout her long career, the sculpture and graphics of Rose Van Vranken earned many awards.

Her earliest recognition included a First Prize for sculpture at the Los Angeles County Museum in 1944; a First Prize from Des Moines Art Center in 1953; and two bronze medals for sculpture from Oakland Art Center in 1946 and 1947. She won the Medal of Honor for Sculpture from the Academic Artists Association in1985. She won First Prize for sculpture from the International Platform Association in 1987.

In recent years, she took First Prize for sculpture from the International Platform Association's annual exhibition in Washington DC in 2001, and in 1995; and in 1990 won their "Best in Show" gold Medal of Honor. Elected to membership in the Salmagundi Club in NYC in 1979, she earned altogether 12 awards for sculpture in this organization's competitive juried shows, including First Prize for sculpture in 2003, Second Prize in 1999, the Paul Manship Award in 1998, St. Gaudens Awards in 1998, and an Exhibition Award in 2001. She received the Medal of Honor for graphics from the National Association of Women Artists and her etchings were selected by NAWA for a touring exhibition in Europe where they were shown at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and five other museums. She participated in NAWA's juried sculpture exhibitions in 2001 and 2000. The US State Department included Van Vranken's sculpture in its Art in Embassies Program and her alabaster carving ‘La Rana' (the frog) was bought by the government of Costa Rica.

In 2004, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award form Sculptors Dominion, San Antonio, Texas, and in 2000 was recognized by the Period Gallery of Omaha in their Winter International Juried Exhibition with their Award of Excellence.
Today four of her sculptures are to be found on permanent exhibition in Olbrich Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin, following upon a one person sculpture show of 30 pieces of sculpture in summer 2000.

Perhaps her most memorable achievement however, was the 11 foot high bronze casting "Flame" dedicated to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in 1991. Located in the Dorothy H. Hudson Memorial garden by the main entrance to the hospital, Van Vranken described this piece as "…symbolic of…passing on knowledge (which) represents the education mission of MD Anderson.

Van Vranken's work is to be found in the permanent collections of: Coventry Cathedral, Coventry, England; St. Cyril of Alexandria Church, Houston; University of Iowa Museum of Fine Arts; Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; Mitchel Energy Corporation, Houston; Jewish Community Center, Houston; Texas Commerce Bank, Houston; Finial Investment Corporation, Houston; Crowne Plaza Hotels, Houston; MD Anderson Cancer, Houston; Laguna Gloria Museum, Austin Texas; McAllen International Museum, McAllen Texas' Maryville Academy, Chicago; Smith College, Northampton MA; Brand Library, Glendale California; Salmagundi Club Collection, NYC; as well as in many private collections.

In addition to the National Association of Women Artists and the Salmagundi Club, Van Vranken was a member of Artists Equity and of the Texas Society of Sculptors.

She is survived by four children; Kathryn White of London, England; Robert C. Hickey, Jr. of Eau Claire, Stephen P. Hickey of Madison and Dennis VV Hickey of Springfield, Missouri; and by five grandchildren. Dr. Robert C. Hickey predeceased her in 2006; a daughter, Sarah Laird, predeceased her in 2009.

Private family services will be held. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Yahara House, 625 West Washington Ave., Madison, WI 53703. For online condolences, please visit,

Gunderson West Funeral & Cremation Care
7435 University Ave

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Yahara House, 625 West Washington Ave., Madison, WI 53703.

Private family services will be held

Private family services will be held

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