Daniel Chester French Bronzes, ca. 1898
WOMAN: These have been in my family for a really long time. My great-great- great-grandfather was Richard Morris Hunt, who was a famous architect who designed the base of the Statue of Liberty, the East Wing of the Louvre and a bunch of the mansions in Newport. And he founded some big architecture school. This is the monument to him that's in Central Park. He's in the middle there, but these are these muses that are on either side of it. And these are the models. These ones are, like, nine feet tall, I think. And I think these were made by Daniel Chester French, who was the sculptor who designed the seated Abraham Lincoln. When I was a little kid, there was a restoration of this monument, and we all got to go to the dedication of the restoration. So I remember that, being, like, six years old, being there for that.
And it's a combination of two of America's top-notch names in art and architecture and sculpture coming together. So Richard Morris Hunt, as you said, was one of the leading architects of his day. And this monument was created in Central Park. It's right across from the Frick Museum on Fifth Avenue. It's between 70th and 71st Street. And it was made as a monument to his accomplishments of helping design the style of New York City. There's a lot of his buildings in New York City too, yeah.
Yeah, there are.
These are interesting in that they're... we refer to them as maquettes. They're bronze scale models for the larger-than-life sculptures that were part of this monument. They are marked. They've got the initials for Daniel Chester French, and the date's here on the side.
Oh, I never saw that.
Daniel Chester French was contacted in around 1896 to design these, and one of these is dated 1898 and one 1899. So he obviously was working on them for a while. They were not actually installed until 1900, 1901. The one next to you is holding something. Do you know what that is?
Well, I think it's a building, maybe something Richard Morris Hunt designed.
It is, it's a building that he designed. It's the administration building for the 1893 Columbian World's Fair in Chicago, and that's one of his best-known buildings.
Would you happen to know if the center was designed by Daniel Chester French?
Yes, it was as well.
I wonder where that is. I don't know where that is, in my family maybe somewhere.
In talking with some of my colleagues, our sense is that if you had to put a value for auction on them, probably looking somewhere for the pair in the $20,000 to $30,000 range.
Wow, yes, that's very good.
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