National Academy Museum

and School of Fine Arts

 

Stages of Creation: Public Sculpture by National Academicians

January 7- March 8, 1998

 

 

"MONUMENTAL" COMMISSIONS

Corporations, universities, religious groups, and notably, agencies of local and Federal government have been the sponsors of sculptures represented in States of Creation. The resulting works have become important focal points for public spaces, especially urban ones. Among the patriotic and heroic subjects featured in the exhibition are Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Sacagawea, General John J. Pershing, women serving in Vietnam, the American Merchant Marines, the U. S. Navy, policemen, and firemen.

 

Penelope Jencks (b. 1936) ANA 1992, NA 1994

Model for the monument of Eleanor Roosevelt in Riverside Park in New York City, Spring 1996 (commissioned by the Eleanor Roosevelt Memorial Fund); Date of model: 1993; Media of model: bronze; 14 1/2 x 9 x 5 3/4 inches; Collection of the National Academy Museum; Photo: Glenn Castellano

 

The American Merchant Mariners' Memorial by Marisol was the result of a two-year competition involving
seventy artists. The five finalists were asked to create a model and were given the written account of a World War II incident at sea and a related photograph for inspiration. The account itself involved the American Merchant Marine ship the Muskogee, which was sunk by a German submarine in the North Atlantic. The submarine commander took the above-mentioned photograph showing seven survivors on a raft -- doomed men to whom the Germans gave chocolates and cigarettes, but did not rescue. After creating the model version of this memorial, Marisol sculpted the larger-than-life-sized figures in clay on wooden armatures. The figures were then cast into plaster and finally bronze. Featured in the exhibition is a copy of the original photograph of the drifting seamen, used by Marisol as inspiration, several large photographs of the expressive models being sculpted, and pictures of the completed work on the Promenade in New York City's Battery Park. Standing in front of these powerful images in the galleries is a three-dimensional wood and wax model of the memorial.

 

Lewis Cohen, NA (b. 1936), ANA 1990, NA 1992

Full-scale mask, study for The Reverend James Blair, founder of the college of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA (commissioned by the institution and completed in 1993); Date of model: 1992; Media of model: bronze; Collection of the artist; Photo: Glenn Castellano

 

A collage of documentary photographs and several studies in bronze and plaster tell the story of Penelope Jencks's memorial to Eleanor Roosevelt, unveiled in Manhattan's Riverside Park in 1996. The project was sponsored in 1988 by the Eleanor Roosevelt Monument Fund and involved a competition of over four hundred artists. Jencks began her work in 1992, studying hundreds of photographs of her subject. Jencks chose a contemplative pose to suggest the complicated inner life of her subject. To record her ideas, she made three-dimensional head and figure studies, a selection of which are included in the exhibition. An assemblage of photographs created by Jencks brings the visitor through the steps of creating the final, large clay model and the bronze casting process of the sculpture. The installed monument is shown in a separate grouping of photographs as well.

Neil Estern was selected with four other sculptors and a master stone carver to participate in The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial by the architect of the project Lawrence Halprin, NA. Commissioned by the United States Congress, the monument was unveiled in 1997 in West Potomac Park in Washington, DC. Estern began his creative contemplations with a series of drawings, made progressively larger, after which a scale model thirty-five inches high was made of seventy pounds of plastiline. It was used by Tallix Foundry in Beacon, New York, to make the full-scale model, using a method of enlarging called pointing. The final version was cast in five separate pieces that were then hinged together. Among the many objects on loan from Estern are preliminary three-dimensional studies in plastiline, wax, and plaster, as well as a larger model of the Roosevelt figure. Visitors to Stages of Creation are greeted at the second-floor entrance to the exhibition with a full-scale cast of the figure's head. Several photographs show Estern at work in his studio and at the site of the installation.

Leonard Baskin began his work on The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in 1991, starting with clay models scaled two inches to the foot. He designed three reliefs. The first was a depiction of Roosevelt at his inaugural. The second showed the president as the savior of the nation during World War II. The third showed the president's casket followed by a procession of mourners. It was the final of these that became the focus of his sculpture at the memorial. The exhibition includes four different studies in bronze by Baskin, accompanied by photographs of the installation and of the artist at work.

 

rev. 11/26/10


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