Richard Beyer, sculptor who created “Sighting Whales” on Edmonds waterfront, dead at 86

Richard Beyer's "Sighting Whales"

Richard Beyer, the sculptor who created the whimsical “Sighting Whales” sculpture at Edmonds Waterfront Park, has died in New York City, our online news partner The Seattle Times reported.

Beyer is best known in the Seattle area for his “Waiting for the Interurban” work in the Fremont neighborhood. But the artist’s website tells the story of how he came up with the idea for the Edmonds cast aluminum piece:

The architects designing the reconstruction of the Edmonds, WA waterfront asked Beyer to create a sculpture for the landing. While enjoying a drink with a friend and discussing the project one evening, they saw folks running toward the window, pointing with great enthusiasm. Whales were in the harbor. This was a frequent springtime occurrence in the Edmonds harbor, and always brought great wonder to the passers-by. The pointing gesture became the focal point for this sculpture. The life sized family figures represent everyone, young and old, forever looking out to sea.

According to the Times story, critics sniffed that the scores of sculptures Mr. Beyer created for civic plazas and private clients around the world were corny.

Noted Seattle architect Fred Bassetti, an early admirer of Mr. Beyer’s work, observed that the sculptor “wasn’t accepted by the gurus of art in Seattle.” But, Bassetti said, “he had something else. He had a thoughtfulness about the human condition.”

Mr. Beyer died Monday in New York City. His family said he had a stroke March 27 and never regained consciousness. He was 86.

  1. The spirit of Richard Beyer must have been with the ferry passengers the day before Easter. We were headed over to Kingston when an announcement came that there were orcas near the ferry headed for Edmonds. Sure enough at least three whales showed themselves next to the boat as the passengers watched. At the same time if you looked north Mt. Baker was at its snowy best and Mt. Rainier loomed up to the south. The Olympics were stunning. It was all enough to make everyone forget our past gloomy days and reminded us of what a natural paradise surrounds us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.