A Walk in Prospect Park, 4

The first post in this series is here, second here, third here. All photos in this series are copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante.

General Slocum

General Henry Warner Slocum, on the east side of Grand Army Plaza, is by Frederick MacMonnies, who also created the nearby Stranahan and most of the sculptures for the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch. (See last week’s post.)  If you know General Slocum’s name, it’s probably because of the steamboat named after him that caught on fire in the East River in 1904. Most of the 1,300 souls who perished were women and children on their way to a church picnic. The charming Slocum Memorial in Tompkins Square Park commemorates them. Details on the disaster here. On this sculpture of Slocum, dedicated in 1905, see here.

General Henry Warner Slocum, by Frederick MacMonnies, dedicated 1905. East side of Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn.

Bailey Fountain

The Bailey Fountain is named after Brooklyn financier and philanthropist Frank Bailey and his wife Mary, who donated $125,000 for the construction of a new fountain on Grand Army Plaza. It was dedicated in 1932. According to the NYC Parks Department site, the man and woman at the center represent Wisdom and Felicity. By what attributes do we know that? I have no idea. Ten demerits to the sculptor.

Around the base are Neptune, god of the sea (south side, with a trident), Triton, his attendant (west side), and a boy blowing a conch shell (east side). What do Neptune & Co. have to do with Wisdom and Felicity? Ten more.

Bailey Fountain, by Eugene Savage, dedicated 1932. Grand Army Plaza, just north of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch.

Bailey Fountain, by Eugene Savage, dedicated 1932. Grand Army Plaza, just north of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch. Center figures: Wisdom and Felicity.

Bailey Fountain, by Eugene Savage, dedicated 1932. Grand Army Plaza, just north of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch. Center figures: Wisdom and Felicity.

I will take almost any representational art over almost any non-representational art, and most stylized art over art that’s grittily realistic … but the Bailey Fountain smacks of one of my all-time least-favorite styles. Socialist Realism, spawned in Communist Russia in the 1920s, emphasizes brawn over brains. The Bailey Fountain is in the same style and dates to the same period as Lee Lawrie’s Atlas at Rockefeller Center, 1937. And you know which Atlas I prefer, right? If not, see Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan and this supplementary page to the Monuments of Manhattan app.

Bailey Fountain, by Eugene Savage, dedicated 1932. Grand Army Plaza, just north of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch. Center figures: Wisdom and Felicity.

The mythological figures around the base are amusing, and rather more lively than the two central figures.

Neptune, from the Bailey Fountain by Eugene Savage, dedicated 1932. Grand Army Plaza, just north of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch.

Boy blowing a conch shell on the Bailey Fountain, by Eugene Savage, dedicated 1932. Grand Army Plaza, just north of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch. Doesn’t Ariel’s father do this in The Little Mermaid?

Boy blowing a conch shell, from the Bailey Fountain, by Eugene Savage, dedicated 1932. Grand Army Plaza, just north of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch.

Triton, from the Bailey Fountain by Eugene Savage, dedicated 1932. Grand Army Plaza, just north of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch.

John F. Kennedy

This bust of JFK was dedicated in 1965, two years after his assassination. Looking south from it, you can see the Bailey Fountain and the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch. More on JFK here.

John F. Kennedy by Neil Estern, dedicated 1965. North end of Grand Army Plaza.

John F. Kennedy by Neil Estern, dedicated 1965. North end of Grand Army Plaza.

Alexander J.C. Skene

If you’re a gynecologist or urologist, you’ll have heard of Skene. If not, all you need to know is that he was prominent gynecologist at a time when the specialty was still fairly new. This bust is by John Massey Rhind, who also created the full-length portrait of Alexander Stewart Webb (of which I’m rather fond) at City College. The Skene bust was dedicated in 1905. More on it here.

Alexander J.C. Skene, by John Massey Rhind, dedicated 1905. North end of Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn.

Alexander J.C. Skene, by John Massey Rhind, dedicated 1905. North end of Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn.

General Gouverneur Kemble Warren

He looks like quite a charming man … but not a general. This sculpture by Henry Baerer was dedicated in 1896. Baerer also sculpted the Beethoven in Prospect Park (see this post) and another Beethoven in Central Park. More on Warren here.

General Gouverneur Kemble Warren, by Henry Baerer, dedicated 1896. West side of Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn.

General Gouverneur Kemble Warren, by Henry Baerer, dedicated 1896. West side of Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn.

Panthers

The Panthers, by Alexander Phimister Proctor, were dedicated at the Third Street entrance to Prospect Park in 1898. Proctor helped Augustus Saint Gaudens model the horse for the Sherman at the southeast corner of Central Park.

Panthers, by Alexander Phimister Proctor, dedicated 1898. Third Street entrance to Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

Litchfield Villa

The Italianate Litchfield Villa was built in 1855 for railroad pioneer Edwin Litchfield, to a design by Alexander Jackson Davis. The villa and its grounds were acquired by the City of Brooklyn in 1869, after they decided to expand Prospect Park to the south and west. More on Litchfield Villa from NYC Parks Department here. For more of Davis’s work, visit Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, New York (Gothic Revival) and the facade of Federal Hall (Greek Revival), which he designed with Ithiel Town.

Litchfield Villa, Prospect Park West between 4th and 5th Streets. At the lower left is a temporary object (I won’t call it “art”) by Carole Eisner, entitled Zerques (which you, yes!! you!!! can buy for $125,000). Even the Bailey Fountain doesn’t annoy me that much.

More

  • My most-consulted book on Frederick MacMonnies is Mary Smart, A Flight with Fame, 1996. It includes hundreds of images, including archival photos of plaster casts, letters, etc.
  • The first post in this series is here, second here, third here. All photos in this series are copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante.
  • Keep in touch! Members of my email list get a weekly message with four recommendations in fields such as sculpture, painting, literature, nonfiction, movies, architecture, and decorative arts. To be added, send a message to DuranteDianne@gmail.com. You can also sign up for the RSS feed of this blog, follow me on Twitter @NYCsculpture, or friend the Forgotten Delights page on Facebook.

About Dianne L. Durante

I’m an independent scholar and freelance writer /lecturer on art and art history, with forays into food, history, politics, and publishing. My most recent projects are *Innovators in Sculpture¸* a survey of 5,000 years of art in two hours, and *Monuments of Manhattan,* a videoguide app by Guides Who Know that’s based on my book *Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan: A Historical Guide.*

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