Emory Seidel

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Emory Pius Seidel (May 14, 1881 – April 23, 1954) was a Chicago artist who created numerous sculptures and paintings that are displayed publicly throughout the United States. He was affiliated with the Chicago Art Institute.[citation needed] In 1925, he was awarded the John C. Shaffer Prize from the Art Institute of Chicago.


Seidel was the third child of Emeron Michael Seidel and Amelia Wolf, and was one of ten siblings.{see US census record in 1900 for Emeron Seidel Baltimore Ward 19 District 242} Not much is known about Seidel's biography except that he was Florist in the Baltimore, MD area. In an article published in the Inland Printer/Lithographer Vol. 53, on page 235 in 1914, Emory was interviewed describing his work and life. According to the article, he was always making art as long as he could remember but that he began formal art studies at the age of 10. He studied with Ephraim Keyser at the Institute of Baltimore and worked under Charles Mulligan of Chicago. It is not known when he moved to Chicago but he was already in Chicago by 1903. According to the 1914 interview by the Inland Printer/Lithographer Vol. 53, he already had a daughter named Virginia.

E. P. Seidel won the Palette & Chisel Gold Medal award in 1927. He also got some local commissions for public sculpture—for the Damen Ave bridge just north of Fullerton, and for the New York St. Bridge in Joliet. He studied at the Art Institute with P&C member, Charles Mulligan, as well as with Wellington J Reynolds and Ephraim Keyser. He was in the AIC vicinity show 17 times between 1913–1933, and won the AIC Shaffer prize in 1935, the Worcester prize 1926, and was mentioned in Lorado Taft's "History of American Sculpture." He was in the 1939 Art Institute retrospective "50 Years of American Art" exhibit, and he served on the jury of selection for the 1935 "American Painting and Sculpture" exhibit at the Art Institute.

Circa 1930, he also had an exhibit with P&C member, Carl Krafft, which was described by the gallery as follows:

To see his tender replicas of children in all their grace and elfin charm is to be at once in sympathy with this artist, enthralled by the blossom like beauty possessed by these mysterious little people. In his modeling of grown up children, we find his hand vigorous in shaping the silken petals into ragged and virile character, the striving and restless human, the youthful breaklance that means to give a good account of himself in the end. His message is written strong in about 15 clay models.


Emory married Hildegarde Erbsmehl of Michigan and they had three children, David, Virginia, and Ann.


The Memory sculptures are part of an entire bridge designed to commemorate the veterans of World War I. In 1930, Chicago sculptor Emory P. Seidel designed the original plans for the bridge. As a period publication stated, using an artist made the bridge “remarkable in its beauty and unique in its design... which will help bring realization that bridges need not be as drab as gas tanks, telephone poles and other things that must be put up with along public thoroughfares.”[citation needed]

Completed in November, 1931, the Memory sculptures adorning the New York Street Pershing Memorial Bridge include four concrete figures capping the piers of the bridge, two at each end in mirror image. Each statue shows a hooded female figure in a kneeling position, her eyes closed in retrospection. One hand rests on a plain slab in front of her holding a wreath. Her other hand, resting in her lap, clasps a helmet of the World War I doughboy type. The figures rise 10 feet 6 inches above the sidewalk level, while the folds of their robes flow down the piers, incorporating them into the structure of the bridge. The sculptures are made of aggregate concrete. The allegories' robes flow down to form the pylons of the bridge. The City of Aurora is both the owner and applicant.[citation needed]

The Morgan memorial in Freeport Illinois is one of the most appreciated attractions of Read Park.[citation needed]

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