Over the next few months, I’ll be posting photos taken at Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, S.C. Although the gardens are not at their most beautiful in November, the sculptures are always wonderful! For more on Brookgreen, see the first post in this series.
This post continues sculptures in the children’s garden.
Anna Hyatt Huntington, Brown Bears, 1936
The Hispanic Society of America in New York has a marble version of this group. These bears are very cute, but they don’t stick in my mind the way the next piece does.
Marshall Maynard Fredericks, Mother and Baby Bear,1964
Sometimes I enjoy sculptures of animals for their technical execution, but there are few that I remember as vividly as this one … because I haven’t quite decided how to interpret it. Why are these two leaning back to back, rather than cuddling? Do the mother’s posture and the tilt of her head indicate fatigue or relaxation? Is the cub just relaxing in his nearness to her, or is he annoyed and turning his back? Animal sculptures are most interesting to me when I see emotions that I can relate to as a human being.
Fredericks commented of this large (nearly 7 foot tall) sculpture, “I love animals of all kinds and I did the group, basically, for children … A child’s reaction to a sculpture [is] such an honest reaction … They see through anything that’s superficial.”
Edith Barretto Parsons, Frog Baby,1917
This sculpture is adorable: I wish I had a photo without the glare. Parsons (1878-1956) studied under Daniel Chester French and George Grey Barnard. She did the sculptural decorations for the Liberal Arts Building at the Saint Louis Exposition of 1904, but was known best for fountain figures of merry children such as this one.
James Earle Fraser, The End of the Trail, 1915
I’m not fond of Indian sculptures as a genre, but I give this one credit for perfectly summarizing the end of the journey, or perhaps utter defeat. It was created in 1915, when the frontier had long been closed and the Indians relegated to reservations.
Fraser (1876-1953) was an assistant of Augustus Saint Gaudens, helping him with the Sherman Monument. His works include Theodore Roosevelt at the American Museum of Natural History and Alexander Hamilton and numerous other works in Washington, D.C.
Hermon A. MacNeil, The Sun Vow, 1899
This 1899 work became appealing to me once I learned the back story. It illustrates a Sioux ceremony that tested a young man prowess: if the arrow he shot went far enough to be lost from sight against the sun, he was a warrior. The idea of growing up as a series of challenges faced and conquered strikes a chord with me. A larger version of this work is in the American Wing Courtyard at the Metropolitan Museum.
MacNeil (1866-1947) was among the earliest American sculptors to use Indians as subject. He also carved Washington as Commander-in-Chief on the Washington Arch.
- The Brookgreen Gardens: Five Favorites post is here. For other posts in the November 2018 series, click “Brookgreen Gardens” in the Obsessions cloud at right.
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