Home -> Wahlgreen Company -> A Brief Guide to the Department of Fine Arts - Panama-Pacific International Expostion - Chapter VIII - Sculpture

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Chapter VIII.


Medals of Honor were awarded to three sculptors, Gold Medals to eight, and to a large number Silver Medals and Honorable Mention were allotted.

In reporting their recommendations, the jury took occasion to highly compliment the Fine Arts Department on the unique excellence of its installation of sculpture, which is mostly displayed in the open air amid living greenery, and disposed in situations of great beauty. The jury voiced the sentiments of all Exposition visitors.

The three sculptors to whom highest honors were given were Karl Bitter, Daniel Chester French, and Herbert Adams.

As in the case of the painter, John W. Alexander, a tragic ending marked the official granting of high honor to Karl Bitter, who was killed in an automobile accident in New York after the jury had allotted its award. He was not only an exhibitor, but was Chief of Sculpture in the Division of Works of the Exposition. His statue of Thomas Jefferson is placed beneath the dome in front of the entrance to the Fine Arts Palace. Others of his works, including the Memorial to Dr. Henry P. Tappan, the "Signing of Louisiana Purchase Treaty,' and a "Fountain Group," lent by John D. Rockefeller, are in Room No. 66-which is the large hall into which both east and west main entrances open.

Karl Bitter was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1867. His early education was received in the Academy of Fine Arts of that city. He came to this country in 1889 and his home has since been in New York. For many years he has been recognized as one of the leading sculptors in America.

Daniel Chester French's statue of Lincoln is under one of the arches of the dome before the entrance. His Earl Dodge Memorial is also under the dome. The Alice Freeman Palmer Memorial is placed in Room 66, the main entrance hall. Daniel Chester French is one of the most notable of modern American sculptors, Born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1850, he is a pupil of John Quincy Adams Ward, in New York, and of Thomas Ball, in Florence, Italy. Many of his works are patriotic in theme, such as "The Minute Man," at Concord, Massachusetts.

Herbert Adams is represented by four statues. His large figure of Chief Justice Marshall stands at the north end of the colonnade, and his statue of William Cullen Bryant, the poet, is placed beneath the dome before the entrance.

Herbert Adams was born in West Concord, Vermont, in 1858, and received his technical training at the Massachusetts Normal Art School and under Mercie in Paris. He has received many official honors. Among his work are several statues and bronze doors for the Library of Congress, Washington, D. C.

The winners of Gold Medals are the following: Cyrus E. Dallin, James E. Fraser, A. Laessle, Paul Manship, Bela L. Pratt, A. Phimister Proctor, Arthur Putnam, and Attilio Piccirilli.

Cyrus E. Dallin, a native of Utah, born 1861, and educated in France, is represented by a large number of works, principally Indian subjects, which are disposed in many places outside and inside the building.

James E. Fraser, born in Minnesota, 1876, a pupil of Falgniere in Paris, shows six portrait busts and studies. His "Flora and Sonny Whitney," in Room 66, is a charming example of his style.

Albert Laessle, a Philadelphia artist of the younger generation, a pupil of Charles Grafly, shows a large number of animal pieces in bronze, a striking example of his work, in which a Japanese influence is perceptible, is in Room 66, near the main entrance. It is the "Bronze Turkey."

Paul Manship, one of the most original and promising of the younger school, an artist who is one of the many who are returning to remote antiquity for suggestions, is represented by ten characteristic examples, placed in various positions within and without the building. Manship received a large part of his training in Rome as a student at the American Academy, having won a scholarship which gave him three years' study at that institution.

Bela Pratt, born and trained in his art in Connecticut, as a pupil of The Yale School of Fine Arts, and later a student in New York and in Paris, has several of his many works placed out of doors. His two reliefs are beneath the dome before the entrance. His "Whaleman" is on the north shore of the lagoon.

A. Phimister Proctor is the sculptor of the gigantic buffaloes - which so notably guard the approach at the south end of the colonnade. Proctor is a Canadian, born 1862, and trained in New York and in Paris. Many other of his works stand in various places.

Arthur Putnam, the Californian sculptor, an artist of authentic originality, shows a case of his small bronze animal pieces in Room No. 67.

Attilio Piccirilli, born in Italy, 1866, but who has lived in New York since 1888, has a number of works exhibited in the colonnade and elsewhere.

Among sculptors who were placed hors concours because they were members of the jury, or for other reasons, are Paul W. Bartlett, whose "Lafayette" stands in the central position under the dome, and Charles Grafly, whose "Pioneer Mother" stands between the dome and the entrance. This statue will be the sculptural souvenir of the Exposition, as it is to stand in San Francisco's civic center, the gift of the women of the West.

One of the very notable sculptures exhibited is the Augustus Saint Gaudens "Seated Lincoln" which is placed near the south end of the colonnade, Adolph Alexander Weinman, a member of the jury, shows two studies of Lincoln, and other characteristic works. Other jurymen whose works are exhibited are Haig Patigian and Joseph J. Mora, both of whom are Californians. A. Stirling Calder, Assistant and Acting Chief of Sculpture shows five examples of his vigorous modelling. "The Fountain of Energy," near the Scott-street entrance, is his creation, Robert Aitken a San Franciscan whose fountain in the Court of Abundance has attracted especial attention, is one of the winners of a Silver Medal. Aitken is a man of high and serious ambitions, in whose work there can be felt vigor and force allied to a native originality.

Space is lacking for the adequate enumeration of the other Silver Medalists and notable works; but the small figures of Paul Troubetzkoy, Room No. 108, should by no means be overlooked.

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