List of sculptures in Central Park

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A total of 29 sculptures[note 1] have appeared over the past century and a half in New York City's 843-acre (3.41 km2) Central Park. Most have been donated by individuals or organizations, few by the city itself. While many early statues are of authors and poets along "Literary Walk" and American figures like Daniel Webster and "the Pilgrim", other early works were simply picturesque, like The Hunter and The Falconer; other notable statues include sled dog Balto, the so-called "Cleopatra's Needle"—an Egyptian obeliskAlice of Wonderland, and most recently Duke Ellington.

Authors and historical figures[edit]

Hans Christian Andersen
  • The 107th Infantry Memorial is dedicated to the men who served in the 107th New York Infantry Regiment, originally Seventh Regiment of New York, during World War I. The regiment was, as its name implies, stationed in New York, and consisted of males mainly from this region. In 1917, the National Guard's 7th New York Infantry Registry Division. While in France, they saw heavy action, and at the end of the war in November 1918, of the 3,700 men originally in the regiment, 580 men were killed and 1,487 wounded, with four of the regiment's soldiers being awarded the Medal of Honor. The memorial depicts seven men; the one to the far right carrying two Mills bombs, while supporting the wounded soldier next to him. To his right another infantryman (depicting Robert Russell Bennett, a 107 combat veteran who was asked by the artist to model for the statue along with 6 other actual 107 veterans of the Somme) rushes towards the enemy positions, while the helmet less squad leader and another soldier are approaching the enemy with bayonets fixed. To the far left, one soldier is holding a mortally wounded soldier, keeping him on his feet. The bronze memorial was donated by 7th-107th Memorial Committee, and was designed and sculpted by Karl Illava, who served in the 107th IR as a sergeant in World War I. The monument was first conceived about 1920, was made in 1926–1927 and was placed in the park and unveiled in 1927, near the perimeter wall at Fifth Avenue and 67th Street.
Balto
  • Balto was dedicated to the sled dogs that led several dogsled teams through a snow-storm in the winter of 1925 in order to deliver medicines that would stop a diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska. The sculpture is slightly larger than the real-life dog, and is placed on a rock outcropping on the main path leading north from the Tisch Children's Zoo. The sculpture was created by Frederick George Richard Roth, and placed in the park in 1925. Like so many other monuments in the park, it's made of bronze, and it was donated to the park by the Balto Monument Committee to the City of New York. Under the sculpture, a small plaque can be found, containing the following inscription:
Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the sled dogs that relayed antitoxins six hundred miles over rough ice, across treacherous waters, through Arctic blizzards from Nenana to the relief of stricken Nome in the Winter of 1925. ENDURANCE • FIDELITY • INTELLIGENCE[2]
Simón Bolívar
  • The Burnett Memorial Fountain, dedicated to the author Frances Hodgson Burnett, was placed in the Conservatory Garden when it reopened in 1936, a donation by the ad hoc Children's Garden Building Committee. It was designed and created by Bessie Potter Vonnoh between 1926 and 1936. When Frances Hodgson Burnett died in 1924, some of her friends wanted to honor her memory by creating a storytelling area in Central Park. They chose the Conservatory Garden's south garden, at 104th Street and Fifth Avenue, as the site for the memorial. It is believed that the two figures, a reclining boy playing the flute and the young girl holding the bowl, represent Mary and Dickon, the main characters from The Secret Garden.
  • In 1892, Christopher Columbus was donated to Central Park by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of his arrival in the Americas. The statue replicates one made by Jeronimo Suñol in 1892,[3] located at the Plaza de Colon, in Madrid. The New York version was placed in the park in 1894 at the foot of the Mall, and is today one of two monuments of Columbus found in the park's environs, the other being the statue surmounting the column at Columbus Circle. The sculpture depicts the explorer standing with outstretched arms, looking towards the heavens in gratitude for his successful voyage.
Jagiello Grunwald Monument
  • The King Jagiello Monument is an equestrian statue of King Władysław II Jagiełło of Poland, holding over his head two crossed swords, is the largest sculpture in Central Park. The monument commemorates the medieval Battle of Grunwald, where Polish knights supported by Lithuanian, Ruthenian, Czech, and Tatar knights defeated the Teutonic Order. POLAND is inscribed on both sides of the plinth, and in the front lower-right corner is engraved the name of the sculptor, Stanislaw K. Ostrowski (1879–1947), who created this bronze monument for the Polish 1939 New York World's Fair pavilion.[4] As a result of the outbreak of the World War II, the monument stayed in New York; in July 1945 it was presented to the City of New York by the King Jagiello Monument Committee and permanently placed in Central Park with the cooperation of the last pre-Communist consul of Poland in New York, Kazimierz Krasicki.[5] The King Jagiełło monument is situated on the east side of the Turtle Pond, across from Belvedere Castle and southeast of the Great Lawn.[6]
  • Fitz-Greene Halleck has been described as the least known literary figure today on Literary Walk, despite being the only person to have a memorial unveiled by the then-president of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1877, ten years after his death in November 1867. The monument was funded by the use of public subscription, and had a long list of prominent guests and speakers at the dedication and unveiling of the monument, among them the president's cabinet, General of the Army William T.Sherman, the poets Bayard Taylor, George Henry Boker and William Cullen Bryant, as well as other notable citizens. The monument is made in bronze by James Wilson Alexander MacDonald, and is placed near the Literary Walk and The Mall. The monument has been thoroughly refurbished by The Central Park Conservancy, first by hot waxing it in 1983, and then again in 1992, as well as in 1999, when it was dewaxed, pressure-washed and repatinated, and then protected by a coating of a corrosion-inhibiting lacquer.
Alexander Hamilton
  • The standing sculpture of Alexander Hamilton standing in a grove of apple trees and crabapples west of the East Drive behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art was "presented by John C. Hamilton 1880", according to the inscription on its granite base. The donor was a descendant of Hamilton. It was sculpted by Carl Conrads.
  • Bust of the architect Richard Morris Hunt at the Hunt Memorial, along with two other figures sculpted by Daniel Chester French. Flanking the Hunt bust are statuettes, one holding a sculptor's mallet and a palette, representing the allied arts, while the other holds a model for the Administration Building at the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition, designed by Hunt. On the perimeter wall of Central Park, Fifth Avenue and 70th Street, opposite the Frick Collection, which was built on the site of the Lenox Library, also designed by architect Hunt. The granite and marble Hunt memorial was designed by American architect Bruce Price.
  • Sir Walter Scott[7] and Robert Burns are sculpted in bronze by Sir John Steell, the eminent Victorian sculptor. It was unveiled in Central Park, New York in 1880. It was intended to be a companion statue to one of Sir Walter Scott by the same sculptor, erected some eight years previously.
  • The bronze standing figure of Daniel Webster by Thomas Ball stands on a high granite plinth at the confluence of two carriage drives near the foot of Strawberry Fields Memorial, at approximately 72nd Street. Ball had circulated many examples of statuettes of this model. The over-lifesize bronze, cast in Munich, was presented by Gordon W. Burnham in 1876. The plinth bears as a bronze legend Webster's famous phrases LIBERTY AND UNION, NOW AND FOREVER, ONE AND INSEPARABLE. .[9]

Fictional characters[edit]

Alice in Wonderland sculpture
  • One large sculpture depicts Alice, from Lewis Carroll's 1865 classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The statue is located on East 74th Street on the north side of Central Park's Conservatory Water. Alice is pictured sitting on a giant mushroom reaching toward a pocket watch held by the White Rabbit. Peering over her shoulder is the Cheshire cat, flanked on one side by the dormouse, and on the other by Mad Hatter, who in contrast to the calm Alice looks ready to laugh out loud at any moment. Publisher and philanthropist George T. Delacorte Jr. ordered the sculpture from José de Creeft, in honor of Delacorte's late wife, Margarita, and to the enjoyment of the children of New York. Unveiled in 1959, de Creeft's sculpture tries to follow John Tenniel's whimsical Victorian illustrations from the first edition of the book. According to various sources, Alice is said to look like de Creeft's daughter Donna. The Alice in Wonderland project's architects and designers were Hideo Sasaki and Fernando Texidor, who inserted some plaques with inscriptions from the book in the terrace around the sculpture. Margarita's favorite poem, "The Jabberwocky" is also included; chiseled in a granite circle surrounding the sculpture:
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe
The design of the sculpture attracts many children who want to climb its many levels, resulting in the bronze's glowing patina, polished by thousands of tiny hands over the years since the sculpture was unveiled. It was cast at Modern Art Foundry Astoria Queens NY. The sculpture was in the music video of Slick Ricks Children's Story.
The Angel of the Waters
  • The Angel of the Waters Bethesda Fountain was not in the original "Greensward Plan", developed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux; the architectural middle of the park was called "The Water Terrace", for its placement beside The Lake, but the area became known as Bethesda Terrace after the fountain was unveiled in 1873. At the unveiling ceremony, the artist's brochure quoted a Biblical verse from the Gospel of St. John: Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called… Bethesda…whoever then first after the troubling of the waters stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. The fountain was designed and created by Emma Stebbins, who became the first woman to receive a sculptural commission in New York City when she was commissioned to create this fountain. It was designed and created in 1868, but wasn't unveiled until 1873, when the park was officially completed. In 1988 the Central Park Conservancy cleaned, repatinated, and sealed the fountain with a protective coating, and it's washed and waxed annually in order to preserve it. The fountain can be found in the middle of the park, on the north side of 72nd Street.
  • Eagles and Prey, designed and created by Christophe Fratin, is the oldest known sculpture in any New York City park. It is made of bronze, and was cast in Paris, France in 1850 and was placed in the park in 1863. The sculpture was donated by Gordon Webster Burnham, who also donated the statue of Daniel Webster, as well as statues in other cities. The monument depicts a goat, wedged accidentally between two rocks, which is about to be devoured by two eagles. Their talons are sunk into the back of the goat as they flap their wings in victory.
  • Still Hunt by sculptor Edward Kemeys (1843–1907) was placed in the park in 1883. This bronze sculpture of a crouching cougar waiting to pounce, was created by Edward Kemeys, the famous American sculptor who also created the famous Hudson Bay wolves at the Philadelphia Zoo, and lions at the entrance to the Art Institute of Chicago. Situated on a rock outcrop on the west side of the East Drive at the edge of the Ramble, the crouching animal has scared many joggers as they climb "Cat Hill" (formally Cedar Hill) and approach this life-size and realistic representation. Unlike the traditional sculptures of other animals in the park that sit on a base or pedestal, Kemeys situated his animal directly on the rock ledge. Kemeys was so interested in depicting his animals in a realistic mode that he traveled to the western states to see them in their native habitat.

Other sculptures[edit]

In addition, temporary exhibitions of sculpture are mounted in the Doris Freedman Plaza, a concrete and cobblestone area located just outside the southeast entrance walkway to the park, behind the Sherman Monument.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ With the monuments erected against the park's outer walls, the total of sculptures in the care of the Central Park Conservancy is described as "over fifty".

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hans Christian Andersen". Central Park Conservancy. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Balto, (sculpture)". Save Outdoor Sculpture, New York, New York survey. 1993. Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  3. ^ The park's sculpture is signed in the bronze "J. SUÑOL"; it bears the foundry mark of Federico Masriera Barcelona 1892.
  4. ^ "The Government Zone (Zone 1) Poland". 1939nyworldsfair.com. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  5. ^ Daniec, Jadwiga Irena (1982). "In the Footsteps of Stanislaw K. Ostrowski, 1879-1947". The Polish Review 27 (1/2): 77–91. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  6. ^ "King Jagiello Monument". Central Park Conservancy. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  7. ^ Illustration
  8. ^ Central Park 2000: Alexander von Humboldt; NYC Dept of Parks & Recreation: Alexander von Humboldt Monument
  9. ^ "Daniel Webster". Central Park Conservancy. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  10. ^ Signed in the bronze "J.Q.A. WARD Sculptor N.Y. 1866"; it was also inscribed by the bronze-founder, L.A. Amouroux, New York
  11. ^ "Indian Hunter". Central Park Conservancy. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  12. ^ "The Untermyer Fountain". Central Park Conservancy. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  13. ^ Illustration

External links[edit]