The New International Encyclopædia/French, Daniel Chester
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French, Daniel Chester
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FRENCH, Daniel Chester (1850—). An eminent American sculptor, born at Exeter, New Hampshire, April 20, 1850. In 1867 his father, who was a judge in the New Hampshire courts, moved with his family to Concord, Massachusetts. He studied for a year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and in 1869 worked for a month in the studio of J. Q. A. Ward. In 1873 he made for the town of Concord the earliest and one of the cleverest of his more important works, the “Minute Man,”and upon its completion went to Florence, where he spent a year with the American sculptor Thomas Ball. In 1876 French opened a studio in Washington; from 1878 to 1887 he made Boston and Concord his headquarters, and in the latter year settled in New York. Meanwhile, he had made frequent visits to Paris, but although he absorbed whatever appealed to him most, he does not seem to have come directly under the influence of any one French master.
French is a sculptor of great versatility, and the catalogue of his works is large. His “John Harvard” (1882) is in the severe, simple style of the “Minute Man.” His busts of Emerson and Alcott are in the firm close modeling of his earlier years, and are characterized by the lofty intellectual quality which he so often shows in his portraitures. The marble statue of Lewis Cass in the Rotunda of the Capitol (1888) in Washington is more loosely handled than the two former works, but is large and strong. In the Gallaudet Monument in Washington, where the little girl is studying intently the deaf-mute language with its inventor, Gallaudet, French first introduces the element of pathos which has become so familiar in his later works. Perhaps the most interesting is his relief, “Death and the Sculptor,” for the monument of Milmore, which was exhibited at the Chicago Exposition of 1893. Of the large amount of decorative sculpture which was done by French, or under his direction, at this World's Fair, the most noteworthy were the many groups of animals. The great gilded statue of the Republic, which French placed in the Court of Honor, is perhaps the most striking colossal statue of recent times. His other work includes the monument to John Boyle O'Reilly in the Back Bay Fens of Boston (1895); the statues of Starr King in San Francisco, and of Rufus Choate in Boston; and the two fine statues, “History” and “Herodotus,” for the Congressional Library in Washington. With the assistance of Potter he made an equestrian statue of General Grant, in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia (1899), and one of Washington for the United States Building in the Paris Exposition (1900). Among his most recent works are: the Hunt Memorial in Central Park, New York; the bronze doors of the Boston Public Library; and a large amount of decorative work for the Minnesota State House. His Milmore Memorial received a third-class medal at the Paris Salon of 1892, and at the Exposition of 1900 he was awarded a medal of honor. He was elected a member of the Society of American Artists; of the National Sculpture Society; and associate of the National Academy of Design.