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Helen Farnsworth Mears
Helen Farnsworth Mears (December 21, 1872 - February 17, 1916) was an Americanmarker sculptor.

Early life and career

Mears was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsinmarker, and studied at the State Normal School in Oshkosh, and art in New York Citymarker and Parismarker. She was one of a group of women sculptors christened the "White Rabbits" who worked under Lorado Taft producing sculpture for the World Columbian Expositionmarker.

Her most important works include a marble statue of Frances E. Willard (1905, Capitolmarker, Washington) that is included in the National Statuary Hall Collection; portrait reliefs of Edward MacDowell (Metropolitan Museummarker, New York); and Augustus St. Gaudens; portrait busts of George Rogers Clark and William T.G. Morton, M. D. (Smithsonian Institutionmarker, Washingtonmarker). In 1904 her "Fountain of Life" (St. Louis Exposition) won a bronze medal. She made New York her residence and exhibited there and in Chicagomarker.

In 1910 George B. Post, the architect of the Wisconsin State Capitolmarker Building then being designed attempted to secure the services of the well known sculptor Daniel Chester French to create a statue of Wisconsin to be placed on top of the dome. However French, having as much work as he desired, turned the commission down and so Post recommended Mears for the job. Without waiting for a formal contract she immediately began working on a model, even visiting French in the course of her work. Shortly thereafter, Post received a letter from French indicating that he was interested in the task and was quickly awarded it. Mears was paid $1,500 for the work that she had already done, but the loss of the commission was a shock from which she never recovered.

Following the debacle surrounding the Wisconsin capitol statue, Mears's health declined as did her financial well-being, and she died penniless at the age of 43.

Notes

  1. http://www.womenscouncil.wi.gov/docview.asp?docid=66
  2. http://www.uwosh.edu/archives/albee/index.htm
  3. http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/dictionary/index.asp?action=view&term_id=1589&search_term=mears
  4. Rajer & Style
  5. http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/fullRecord.asp?id=10583


References

  • Rajer, Anton and Christine Style, Public Sculpture in Wisconsin: An Atlas of Outdoor Monuments, Memorials and Masterpieces in the Badger State, SOS! Save Outdoor Sculpture , Wisconsin, Madison Wisconsin, 1999
  • Rubenstein, Charlotte Streifer, American Women Sculptors, G.K. Hall & Co., Boston 1990



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