Carl Milles (Swedish/American, 1875-1955)
Maquette for Bronze Door Panel from the "Agriculture Doors," Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) Finance Building
Plaster relief, 20 x 20 x 3 in. (50.5 x 50.5 x 8.0 cm),with a hanging hook embedded on the reverse.
Condition: Soiling, abrasion to lower right corner, dust and dirt to interstices.
Provenance: Gift from the artist to Margueritte Kimball (1906-1995),student and financial secretary at Cranbrook Academy of Art; by family descent to the current private collection, Massachusetts.
N.B. The Harrisburg Finance Building was designed by William Gehron and Sidney F. Ross, built by the Public Works Administration, and completed in 1939. The frieze around the top was sculpted by C. Paul Jennewein and features the names of Pennsylvania cities coupled with medallions depicting their major economic achievements or activities. Milles's entranceway consists of three double doors, each composed of ten bronze panels, five per side, with the center-most panels executed in higher relief. The panels celebrate the state's agricultural heritage in a heroic, WPA style. The panel corresponding to this maquette is located on the right-hand door at the bottom left side. The inscription on the plaster is not replicated in the bronze.
Swedish-born sculptor Carl Milles trained at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and later in Paris, attending, among other schools, the Académie Colarossi. After a stay in Munich from 1904 to 1906, he returned to Sweden in 1908. Milles served as a professor at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, from 1920 to 1931. In 1931 he moved to the United States and taught at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, from 1931 to 1945. He became an American citizen in 1945. He carried out numerous commissions in Sweden and the United States throughout his life. His home in Sweden is now an art museum and sculpture garden, Millesgården, located on the island of Lidingö in Stockholm.
The inscription on the upper left corner of the plaster reads, "The crow thinks it is strange/that the big strong boy's freedom/is depending on a rope"
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