January 30, 2014

1926: Augustus Saint-Gaudens @ Grant Park

Augustus Saint-Gaudens
"The Head of State"
Abraham Lincoln Memorial
1904, 1906, 1926
Bronze, cast, on a stone base
Grant Park
Jackson Boulevard and Columbus Boulevard
Chicago, IL

John Chippewa Crerar (1827-1889), eponymous benefactor of the University of Chicago library, commissioned the Abraham Lincoln memorial from Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907) on October 20, 1897, some thirty-two years after Lincoln's assassination.  Originally cast in 1904, but destroyed in a studio fire, Saint-Gaudens's memorial, "The Head of State," was rebuilt in 1906, with support from Saint-Gaudens' assistants Henry Hering and Elsie Ward, and subsequently cast at the Roman Bronze Foundry, New York, New York.  After a twenty-year period during which it occupied multiple sites outside of Chicago, the statue was coupled with a stone base, designed by Stanford and Laurence White, and presented to the public in Grant Park on May 31, 1926, nearly twenty-nine years after it was commissioned, and well after the death of both Crerar and also Saint-Gaudens himself.

Read more:

Dryfhout, John. "The Work of Augustus Saint-Gaudens". NH: University Press of New England, 1982. Print.

National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior (PDF):

Images (1-2) November 11, 2006;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

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