Sunday, August 28, 2011

Daniel Chester French

Congratulations to Robert, winner of yesterday's Person-of-Mystery contest!  He correctly identified Daniel Chester French as the unidentified person.  I had memorials on my mind after the cracking of the Washington Monument due to the earthquake and the posting of the Jackson Park post card a few days ago (connection to follow).


French is perhaps best known for designing the statue of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.  While this is certainly an impressive work, he made many other wonderful statues, some of which you may already be familiar with as well.


Although born in New Hampshire, Daniel Chester French was raised in Concord, Massachusetts, and was a personal acquaintance of Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Alcott sisters (how cool would that be?).   Through Emerson's help, French was chosen to design the now famous Minute Man statue for Concord.


French produced some of the most beloved and iconic sculptures of the American Renaissance period including the famous centerpiece, Statue of the Republic, at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.  The fair was held in Jackson Park as per my earlier reference.


Although if you want my personal preference for French's best work, it would be his four statues of the Continents he made for the Old Custom House in New York City.  I can't do them justice in this post, so I recommend you check them out HERE.  Take time to click on the links at the bottom of the page and see shots from all sides of the wonderful statuary.