Daniel Chester French
Daniel Chester French
Daniel Chester French (1850-1931) was one of America's leading sculptors of the late 19th century and maintained his popularity and fame well into the 20th century.
Daniel Chester French was born in Exeter, N.H. He grew up in Concord, Mass., and came under the influence of the intellectual circle of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Louisa May Alcott. French chose to become a sculptor early in life and had the benefit of study with the painter William Morris Hunt and the sculptors William Rimmer and John Q.A. Ward—a particularly fortuitous group of instructors because of the variety of their esthetic approaches and their sympathetic professionalism.
With Emerson's assistance in 1874 French received the commission for the statue Minute Man for Concord. This immediately brought him fame. Though based upon the classical Apollo Belvedere, the sculpture was totally in keeping with the then-advanced style of historical bronze monuments. In 1876 French went to Italy and studied with Thomas Ball, whose work combined the neoclassic heritage and the new naturalism.
Some of French's first works on his return to the United States were not unlike the plaster groups of John Rogers. However, French gained fame principally through the large public monuments he created for the custom houses in St. Louis and Philadelphia, the Boston Post Office, and, above all, the gigantic statue, The Republic, that dominated the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
French evolved a type of allegorical figure which became his trademark, although it was emulated by other sculptors. This was the statuesque, somewhat sexless female in long flowing gown, as in the Alma Mater at Columbia University or the Spirit of Life at the Spencer Trask Memorial at Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The heavy, voluminous drapery often flowed over the heads of these figures as well, as can be seen in his most eloquent and personal work, Angel of Death and the Young Sculptor, a memorial to his friend and fellow sculptor Martin Milmore, who died young. The figure of Death confronts an idealized sculptor, who is at work on a relief of a sphinx.
French's best-known works are his two statues of Abraham Lincoln. The first, a standing Lincoln in Lincoln, Nebr., is similar to one by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in Chicago. The second, completed in 1922, and French's most famous sculpture, is the seated Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., done as one of several collaborative works with architect Henry Bacon.
A primary source on French is Mary French, Memories of a Sculptor's Wife (1928). Two biographies are Adeline Pond Adams, Daniel Chester French: Sculptor (1932), and Margaret Cresson, Journey into Fame: The Life of Daniel Chester French (1947). □
"Daniel Chester French." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 13, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/daniel-chester-french
"Daniel Chester French." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved November 13, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/daniel-chester-french
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.
French, Daniel Chester
Daniel Chester French, 1850–1931, American sculptor, b. Exeter, N.H., studied in Florence and in Boston with William Rimmer. After executing his first large work, The Minute Man (1875), he received many important commissions, including his most famous achievement, the heroic Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. His style varies from a detailed realistic rendering, especially in portraiture, to a grand ideal in his allegorical works. Some of the best of his statues and memorials are John Harvard and the bust of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Harvard); Death and the Young Sculptor, Milmore Memorial (Boston); Mourning Victory, Melvin Memorial (Concord, Mass.); Lewis Cass (Capitol, Washington, D.C.); and Alma Mater (Columbia Univ.). In collaboration with Edward C. Potter he executed equestrian statues of General Grant (Philadelphia), General Washington (Paris), and General Joseph Hooker (Boston).
See biography by his daughter, M. F. Cresson (1947).
"French, Daniel Chester." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 13, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/french-daniel-chester
"French, Daniel Chester." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved November 13, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/french-daniel-chester