Museum Open Monday

The New-York Historical Society Museum will be open Monday, December 22. For details, please visit our calendar.


 

Artist: Thomas Crawford
Title: 
The Indian: The Dying Chief Contemplating the Progress of Civilization
Object number: 
1875.4
Medium: 
White marble and wood
Credit line: 
Gift of Mr. Frederic De Peyster

The New-York Historical Society holds an encyclopedic collection of over 800 works documenting the full range of representational sculpture in the United States from the colonial period to the present. Highlights include important groups of portrait busts by an array of sculptors, including Jean-Antoine Houdon, Giuseppe Cerrachi, Horatio Greenough, Hiram Powers, Thomas Crawford, Thomas Ball, Jo Davidson, and Malvina Hoffman; many of the contents from Orson Fowler's former NYC phrenology museum of life and death masks; folk sculpture in a rage of forms, the majority acquired by the pioneering collector and modernist sculptor Elie Nadelman; tombstones and mile markers; and a comprehensive collection of figural genre scenes by the prolific "people's sculptor," John Rogers, whose papers and studio tools also reside in the collection.

Notable figural pieces include Joseph Wilton's statue of William Pitt (decapitated by British troops during the Revolutionary War); Thomas Crawford's monumental "Dying Chief Contemplating the Progress of Civilization;" Henry Kirke Brown's "Ruth;" a commanding carved wood figure of legendary New York City fire chief Harry Howard; Anna Hyatt Huntington's "Diana of the Chase;" Attilio Piccirilli's life-size model for the Atlantic ocean figure from the Maine Memorial in Central Park; Elie Nadelman's "Four Seasons" suite from Helen Rubinstein's flagship beauty salon on Fifth Avenue; and table-top versions of Augustus Saint-Gaudens' "Diana of the Tower" from Madison Square Garden, John Quincy Adams Ward's "Indian Hunter" from Central Park, and Gutzon Borglum's "Abraham Lincoln," eventually incorporated into his Mount Rushmore monument. Of national importance are New-York Historical's holdings of working plasters and related works by Daniel Chester French and his Bronx-based carving collaborators, the Piccirilli Brothers, including a full-size plaster maquette for the head of Abraham Lincoln for the colossal marble statue at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., as well as the small-scale plaster statuette that served as a model for the final memorial statue.

Creative: Tronvig Group