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A Bevy Of Silent Beauties

After 30 years as a lawyer, George Paxton is devoting his life to sculpture.

George Paxton shares a quiet moment with one of his bronze sculptures

George Paxton shares a quiet moment with one of his bronze sculptures

Trim, silver-haired George Paxton is a quiet man with watchful brown eyes. He is someone who looks before he leaps but, once committed, will pursue the course without flagging. His current goal is to create figural sculptures that resonate with the passion of his heroes: Michelangelo, Bernini, Rodin. But can a man who has devoted most of his adult life to the practice of family law prosper as an artist? One glance at those intent eyes will erase all doubt.

Artistic talent runs in his family, George notes. “My father was a musician. He played a number of instruments: saxophone, trombone, clarinet and piano.” Doggedness is also a family trait. George Paxton Sr. earned his living in music. Beginning in the late 1930s he worked as a big band arranger and tenor sax player, and in the mid-’40s he formed his own group, the George Paxton Orchestra. It played in ballrooms in New York City and toured the East Coast until Paxton took over the leadership of the house orchestra at New York’s Capitol Theatre. He soon began publishing music, and in 1958 he and a partner founded Coed Records Inc. The company published 100 singles during its seven-year lifespan; its stars included Adam Wade (The Writing on the Wall), The Duprees (You Belong to Me) and The Crests (Sixteen Candles).

George Jr. recalls his father’s colleagues – superstars Perry Como, Nat King Cole and Vaughn Monroe, among them – visiting his family’s Long Island home. George’s father wanted him to study music. Young George dutifully took piano lessons but wasn’t any good at it. All that he retains from that time is a vivid memory of his teacher chasing him around the piano in a frustrated rage.

Read the entire article in the March 2011 issue