A marble bust of former U.S. Vice President Richard Cheney was unveiled Dec. 3 in the U.S. Capitol’s Emancipation Hall, taking its place among the 44 disembodied public servants honored in the Senate wing.
Per tradition, the former vice president chose the sculptor who tried to capture him in marble: William Behrends, a North Carolinian who previously sculpted a bust of Spiro Agnew, and who also has started work on Al Gore.
Behrends, who also created the four larger-than-life statues of Giants greats near the main entrance of AT&T Park in San Francisco, might be more well-known for creating the bas relief image of the Indianapolis 500 winner to be added to the Borg-Warner Trophy.
Juan Pablo Montoya, whose sterling-silver likeness was unveiled Dec. 9 during a ceremony at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, was the 102nd face added to the iconic trophy, and the 26th sculpted by Behrends.
The difference between the egg-size likeness, Behrends says, to the 9-foot statues outside the baseball park is “just the scale.”
“Creatively, is it’s all similar,” says Behrends, who has been providing the likenesses dating to Arie Luyendyk in 1990.
So many winners have kept him company in his studio because Behrends morphs one race champion into another from the same clay he’s been using since the beginning of the project.
It’s a multi-pronged process to capture the personality of an individual and transform it into a three-dimensional image that is both a tribute and part of history. Photographs from multiple angles are taken of the winner the morning after the race while Behrends makes mental notes. Montoya visited the studio in September.
“We got to know each other quite a bit. Having him here was a tremendous help,” Behrends says. “What I got with him in that two hours is his sense of humor and other subtle things.”
Montoya won in 2000 and again last May to become the ninth two-time winner of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."
The Borg-Warner Trophy, which is permanently on display at the IMS Hall of Fame Museum, features the face of all Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winners, including two years in which co-drivers assisted the primary driver to Victory Lane, and former IMS owner Anton “Tony” Hulman.
Separate squares are reserved on the sterling-silver body on which each winner’s name, average speed and winning year are engraved to complement the base relief image.
The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 is May 29, 2016.
“It’s going to be quite a thing -- the 100th running -- and there will be a high level of excitement,” Behrends says. “I feel privileged to be a part of it.”