Felix de Weldon
Felix Weihs de Weldon (April 12, 1907–June 3, 2003) was an Austrian-born American sculptor. His most famous piece is the Marine Corps War Memorial of five U.S. Marines and one sailor raising the flag of the United States on Iwo Jima during World War II, and the National Monument (Malaysia).
Felix de Weldon was born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary on April 12, 1907. He received his early education at St. Egichin's Grammar School. In 1925, he earned an A.B. from Marchetti College, a preparatory college. From the University of Vienna's Academy of Creative Arts and School of Architecture, he earned his M.A. and M.S. degrees in 1927 and his PhD in 1929.
De Weldon first received notice as a sculptor at the age of 17, with his statue of Austrian educator and diplomat Professor Ludo Hartman. In the 1920s, he joined artist's communes in France, Italy and Spain. De Weldon eventually moved to London, where he gained a number of commissions, among them a portrait sculpture of George V.
A consequential trip to Canada to sculpt Prime Minister Mackenzie King brought De Weldon to North America, and he decided to settle in the United States. De Weldon enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II and was discharged with the rank of Painter Second Class (PTR 2). He became a United States citizen in 1945.
In 1950, President Harry Truman appointed de Weldon to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. In 1956, he was re-appointed by President Dwight Eisenhower, and again in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. In 1959, he received an honorary knighthood for his service to the British Crown. (As he was not a Royal subject he was not entitled to be styled as "Sir Felix de Weldon.”)
In 1951, De Weldon acquired the historic Beacon Rock estate in Newport, Rhode Island, where he lived until 1996, when he lost the property and most of his assets to financial hardship.
Felix de Weldon died on June 3, 2003.
At the conclusion of the war, the Congress of the United States commissioned de Weldon to construct the statue for the Iwo Jima memorial in the realist tradition, based upon the famous photograph of Joe Rosenthal, of the Associated Press agency, taken on 23 February 1945. De Weldon made sculptures from life of three of the six men raising the flag. The other three, who had died in action later, were sculpted from photographs. De Weldon took nine years to make the memorial, and was assisted by hundreds of other sculptors. The result is the 100-ton bronze statue which is on display in Arlington, Virginia.
De Weldon also contributed in creating Malaysia's Tugu Negara (National Monument) when the country's first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman saw the USMC War Memorial statue in his visit to America in October 1960 and personally met him for favour to design the monument. De Weldon was later conferred with the title Tan Sri, the Malaysian equivalent of a high-ranking knighthood.
De Weldon died on June 2, 2003 at age 96 in Woodstock, Virginia. De Weldon is survived by his wife, Joyce Swetland de Weldon, of Warwick, Rhode Island, and two sons Byron & Daniel DeWeldon. Daniel is collaborating with Allen Nalasco on a biopic of his father's life titled "DeWeldon - The Man Behind The Monuments". Daniel will play the part of Felix during the height of his career.
Partial list of Public Sculpture
- 1923 - Marine Monument ("Iron Mike"), Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial, Belleau Wood, France
- 1935 - King George V, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
- 1936 - King Edward VIII coronation bust, London, UK
- 1936 - King George VI coronation bust, London, UK
- 1938 - Prime Minister Mackenzie King - Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada
- 1938 - Agnes Campbell Macphail - Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada
- 1938 - Senator Cairine Wilson - Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada
- 1945 - George Washington, United States Embassy, Canberra, Australia
- 1948 - Simon Bolivar Monument, Bolivar, WV
- 1948 - President Harry S. Truman bust - Truman Library, Independence, MO
- 1949 - George Bannerman Dealey statue, Dealey Plaza, Dallas, TX
- 1949 - Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
- 1949 - Senator Leslie Biffle, Main Post Office, Piggott, AR
- 1949 - John Steelman, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
- 1954 - Raising of the Flag on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima Memorial, Roslyn, VA (original model 1946)
- 1954 - John Marshall bust, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA
- 1954 - Sir William Blackstone bust, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA
- 1954 - George Wythe bust, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA
- 1959 - Equestrian Statue of Simon Bolivar, Washington, DC
- 1959 - American Red Cross Memorial, American Red Cross Headquarters, Washington, DC
- 1961 - Simon Bolivar Monument, Bedford Square, Baltimore, MD
- 1961 - Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia
- 1961 - Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd, McMurdo Station, Antarctica
- 1961 - St. Stephen the Martyr, Church of St. Stephen Martyr, Washington, DC
- 1963 - President John F. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, MA
- 1963 - Harry S. Truman Monument, Athens, Greece
- 1964 - Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC
- 1964 - Patrick Cudahy Memorial, Cudahy, WI
- 1965 - Minute Man Statue - National Guard Monument, Washington, DC
- 1965 - Richard Kirkland Monument, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, Fredericksburg, VA
- 1966 - Walter Reed Sculpture, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC
- 1966 - Abraham Lincoln statue, Chapultepec Park, Mexico City
- 1966 - National Monument for Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- 1968 - Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House, LBJ Library, Austin, TX
- 1968 - Sergeant York, Tennessee State Capitol, Nashville, Tennessee
- 1971 - Senator Bob Bartlett, Statuary Hall, U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC
- 1972 - Senator Dennis Chavez, Statuary Hall, U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC
- 1973 - General George Rogers Clark, Louisville, KY
- 1973 - Seabees Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, DC
- 1973 - Benjamin Franklin, Louisville Public Library, Louisville, KY
- 1974 - Centennial Statue ("Astronaut Statue"), Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY
- 1974 - Florence Martus statue ("Waving Girl"), Morrell Park, Savannah, GA
- 1976 - Torch of Freedom, Veterans of Foreign Wars Headquarters, Washington, DC
- 1976 - Archbishop John Carroll (bishop), Prince George's County Court House, Upper Marlboro, MD
- 1977 - Ty Cobb, Turner Field, Atlanta, GA
- 1980 - Mother Joseph, Statuary Hall, U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC
- 1981 - Mother Joseph Statue, City Hall, Vancouver, WA
- 1982 - General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., USMC, Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, VA
- 1985 - William G. Leftwich, Jr., Lieutenant Colonel, USMC, Quantico, VA
- 1990 - President James Monroe statue, Fredericksburg, VA
- 1990 - Anchors Aweigh Sculpture, Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, New York, NY
- 1995 - Elvis Presley statue, Graceland, Memphis, TN
- Who's Who in Marine Corps History
- Ness, Oral History Interview, 1969.
- Thomas E. Luebke, ed. Civic Art: A Centennial History of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, 2013): Appendix B, p. 543.
Malaysian National Monument (Tugu Negara)Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- "Dr. Felix W. de Weldon". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2007-01-13.
- SPQR FINE ART Felix de Weldon Bio
- http://www.projo.com/news/content/projo_20060306_felix.86fdb98.html | Providence Journal: Artist's hidden legacy up for auction
- "Felix de Weldon International Art Gallery". Retrieved 2007-01-12.
- de Weldon, Felix (January 22, 1969). Oral History Interview with Felix de Weldon. Interview with Jerry N. Ness. Washington, D.C. Truman Presidential Library. Retrieved 2007-01-12.