Renowned local artist Harry Whitehorse dies at 90

Renowned local artist Harry Whitehorse dies at 90
Courtesy Eric Tadsen

Renowned artist Harry Whitehorse died Wednesday at Capitol Lakes in Downtown Madison at age 90, his son Gary confirmed.

Harry was surrounded by his family in his final moments at Capitol Lakes Assisted Living, according to his oldest son, Gary.

Gary remembers his father as a family man who strived for perfection.

“He would tell us,’ I’m never satisfied,'” Gary said. “‘I always want to do better.’ And that’s kind of the way he was. No matter how much time he spent on it, he could never walk away from it.”

In his later years, Harry struggled with dementia.

“He realized when it was happening but he continued, he would try,” Gary said. “Even though some of the artwork in the final stages were pretty simple… he was still trying to make perfection.”

The Whitehorse family is part of the Ho-Chunk community, which is indigenous to Madison. Whitehorse himself lived and worked in Madison for decades and was often a staple at the Art Fair on the Square.

“He always included us in his activities,” Gary said. “Some of my earliest memories are back when they had the original Art Fair on the Square.”

Whitehorse was a World War II veteran and was sent off Saturday with a tribute by the Color Guard at his home in Capitol Lakes.

Many of Whitehorse’s sculptures are on display around Madison. In 1992, his “Ghost Warrior” sculpture was displayed in the lobby of the State Department of Administration building.

The Whitehorse family has a strong connection to the Madison area. Annie Greencrow Whitehorse Middle School is named after Whitehorse’s mother, who was praised as a great educator.