J. Otto Schweizer

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J. Otto Schweizer, Who's Who in Philadelphia, 1920.

Jakob Otto Schweizer (March 27, 1863, Zurich - 1955) was a Swiss-American sculptor noted for his work on war memorials.


Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Schweizer enrolled in that city's Industrial Art School in 1879. In 1882, he entered the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden, Germany, where he studied with Johannes Schilling.[1] He then lived in Florence, Italy, 1889-94. He arrived in New York City in 1894, and settled in Philadelphia the following year.[2]

He was a member of Philadelphia's German Society of Pennsylvania, and through its connections he obtained his first major commission, a bronze statue of General John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg (1910–11). He was also a Freemason.[3]

Schweizer created 7 sculptures for the Gettysburg Battlefield, more than any other artist. Among these was a larger-than-life statue of Abraham Lincoln for the Pennsylvania State Memorial. He modeled another Lincoln statue for the Memorial Room at the Union League of Philadelphia, and flanked it with 8 portrait reliefs of Union officers.[4] His only equestrian statue, Baron von Steuben (1921), is in Milwaukee. He modeled dozens of busts, bas-reliefs and medallions,[5] and exhibited at the 1916 continuation of the Panama–Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.[6]

His All Wars Memorial to Colored Soldiers and Sailors (1934), originally placed in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, was relocated to Logan Square in 1994.

Schweizer died in 1955, at the age of 92.

Selected works[edit]

General Andrew A. Humphreys (1919), Gettysburg Battlefield, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
U.S. Air Force officers posing in the Memorial Room, Union League of Philadelphia.

Gettysburg Battlefield[edit]

Union League of Philadelphia[edit]



  • Ernst Jockers, J. Otto Schweizer: The Man and His Work, (Philadelphia: International Printing Company, 1953).
  1. ^ Jockers, Ernst, J, Otto Schweizer: The Man and His Work, Press of the International Printing Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,1953 p. 16
  2. ^ National Park Service biography from Valley Forge National Historical Park.
  3. ^ Famous Masons (under sculptors)
  4. ^ "John [sic] Otto Schweizer 1863-1955," in Maxwell Whiteman, Paintings and Sculpture at The Union League of Philadelphia (The Union League of Philadelphia, 1978), p. 115.
  5. ^ 1917 Alexander the Great medallion
  6. ^ Illustrated Catalogue
  7. ^ Civil War Monument
  8. ^ Peter Muhlenberg from Philadelphia Public Art.
  9. ^ Rudolf Cronau, German Achievements in America (New York, 1916).
  10. ^ Joseph Johns from Flickr.
  11. ^ Confederate Women from waymarking.com
  12. ^ Molly Pitcher Monument from Flickr.
  13. ^ President Garfield from Flickr.
  14. ^ Senator Oliver from Flickr.
  15. ^ Equestrian statue from photographersdirect.com
  16. ^ model of American Eagle from ArtNet.
  17. ^ Lily Pond Railing from geocaching.com
  18. ^ All Wars Memorial from Philadelphia Public Art.
  19. ^ The Last Supper
  20. ^ [1]

External links[edit]