OUTDOOR SCULPTURE IN JACKSON, MICHIGAN
by Michael W. Panhorst
Jackson, Michigan has amassed an impressive collection of outdoor sculpture over the past hundred years. A half-dozen major works span the century, from the Jackson County Soldiers and Sailors Monument (1904) by Lorado Taft to Victory Reconstruction (1995) by Richard Hunt. Except for the abstract sculpture by Hunt and another Cor-Ten steel construction by Louise Nevelson, Summer Night Tree (1978), Jackson's public sculptures feature relatively realistic figurative statuary cast in bronze and intended to commemorate a person, a group of people, or an idea.
Like Taft's Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Withington Park, the Laura Evans Memorial (1916) in Mt. Evergreen Cemetery by Taft's pupil Frederick Hibbard commemorates the military service of local men. Another cemetery monument, the William A. Foote Memorial (1923) by Taft, perpetuates the memory of a man who founded a local light and power company that has grown to serve much of the state. Roses of Yesterday (copyrighted 1923) by Harriet Frishmuth on the Sparks Memorial in Mt. Evergreen Cemetery serves much the same purpose for several members of a prominent family buried nearby. Finally, Freeman Schoolcraft, a Jackson native who studied sculpture under Taft, created The Child, the Parent, and the Book to celebrate the right to read and the importance of families reading together. It is located near the entrance to the Main Branch of the Jackson District Library.
The people of Jackson should be very proud of this collection. Not every city this size has such fine examples of twentieth-century American art on permanent public display. Most of Jackson's sculptures rank in the upper echelon of the 900 sculptures inventoried in Michigan in the early 1990s as part of SOS! Save Outdoor Sculpture.
SOS! is a nationwide grassroots effort to inventory all publicly accessible outdoor sculpture, assess its condition, and promote its proper care. SOS! is coordinated by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American Art (NMAA) and the Heritage Preservation. Heritage Preservation supervises the inventory, assessment, and awareness components and the NMAA archives
he information as part of the Inventory of American Sculpture, a state-of-the-art research database that is accessible in person, via the phone, and through the Internet. In Michigan, SOS! was coordinated by the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum at Saginaw Valley State University through a $56,000 grant from the national project. The local survey was spearheaded by Mary Abbott, a well-known amateur photographer and advocate of historic preservation. The Ella Sharp Museum has also helped by hosting one of the first three SOS! Community Campus pilot projects in the country. This brought the author and a prominent art conservator, Virginia Norton Naudé, to Jackson to perform a professional condition assessment, to create this publication, and to make presentations promoting appreciation and regular professional care of the outstanding public sculptures in Jackson.
The outdoor sculpture in Jackson varies in form, color, style, material, subject matter, purpose, patronage, and date. Yet all of it would benefit from professional care and regular maintenance. Although no outdoor sculpture in Jackson is in danger of immanent collapse, the Sparks Memorial is missing its sundial and Summer Night Tree, a site-specific sculpture, barely survived a recent threat of relocation. Moreover, the streaking and staining caused by years of weathering of the unprotected surfaces of the local bronze statuary has camoflaged the messages the artists intended to convey in those commemorative sculptures. The condition assessment by Virginia Naudé documents these conditions, proposes treatment options and maintenance plans, and estimates associated costs and benefits.
Efforts continue to educate the public, as well as the stewards officially responsible for these civic resources, regarding ethical and cost-effective methods and procedures for cleaning and maintaining outdoor sculpture. The community will hopefully recognize the treasures in its midst and act to protect and preserve them. That is the goal of this publication.
Lorado Taft, Defense of the Flag
Lorado Taft, Defense of the Flag aka Jackson County Soldiers and Sailors
Monument, bronze and granite, 1904, Withington Park, Wildwood at W. Michigan.
More people see Defense of the Flag than any other outdoor sculpture in Jackson because of the monument's prominent location in Withington Park on Michigan Ave. on the western edge of the central business district. The prime location
on a major thoroughfare is appropriate for Jackson's first public monument -- a memorial to the 3282 men of the First and Seventeenth Michigan Volunteer Infantry regiments erected by
their commander, Gen. William H. Withington. Although the monument bears a date of May 30, 1903, production problems delayed its dedication until June 14, 1904, by which time General Withington had died.
Jackson holds the honor of mustering the first volunteer regiment
of Civil War soldiers in the state, and although its monument to
these men is not nearly the earliest regimental or civic memorial erected after the war, it is one of the finest in the state and among
he best in the nation. The monument was erected near the peak of Civil War memorialization around the fortieth anniversary of the fraternal conflict. By that time many veterans like Gen. Withington, a prominent local businessman, were in socially responsible, financially secure, and politically influential positions that enabled them to finance the thousands of dollars needed to build lasting memorials in bronze and stone. Unlike most of those veterans, Gen. Withington chose not to organize a public subscription fund-raising drive or to promote local or state legislation authorizing tax revenues for a monument. He wrote a check.
Although it is not known whether Withington contracted directly with the artist or dealt with a monument company that sub-contracted to Taft, it is apparent from inspection that he obtained an inspiring monument. The regiment's battle flag waves in the breeze above a defiant standard bearer and two of his valiant comrades. One soldier falls and grasps at the chest wound he has just received. The other kneels, peering into the face of the enemy, his rifle at the ready to defend his flag -- a symbol more important to many soldiers than life itself. Facial expressions and body language convey much of the excitement communicated in this sculpture. Anatomical accuracy and realistic representation of details were expected by patrons and viewers of public sculptures at the turn of the century, just as they are by much of the populace today. Careful inspection will reveal not only historically accurate uniforms and weapons, but the individual stars and stripes modelled in low relief on the surface of the billowing flag.
Yet Taft imbued Defense of the Flag with much more than the realistic details typical of turn-of-the-century Civil War memorials. He created an inspiring work of art. By depicting the gallant soldiers in a pyramidal composition beneath the wind-whipped banner he achieved a stable sculptural form animated by the furls of the flag and the dynamic play of light and shade on the richly modelled figures and their accoutrement. Such stylistic treatment is typical
of the best figurative sculpture fashioned in the United States during most of Taft's lifetime. The style was influenced by nineteenth-century French sculpture and the principles taught at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris where Taft studied in the 1880s. Perhaps the best known American proponent of this French-inspired invigorated naturalism was Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), whose Admiral Farragut (1881) in New York City set the standard that lasted until artistic taste for outdoor sculpture changed during the Great Depression.
Jackson's Defense of the Flag stands comparison with Saint-Gaudens' early masterwork, and it compares favorably with two other casts of Defense by Taft which are variants of the Jackson sculpture. The first of these was installed on the Chickamauga, Georgia battlefield outside Chattanooga in 1894. It commemorates
a defensive stand made by the Second Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment in September, 1863. Taft made the sculpture on contract to a Chicago monument company and did not sign the work. In 1913 a replica of the Second Minnesota Monument was installed in the National Cemetery at the Soldiers Home in Marion, Indiana.
Several features distinguish the Jackson cast from the other two sculptures of the same title. In Jackson, the middle and wounded figures wear longer coats. The head of the kneeling figure is different than its cousins in Tennessee and Indiana, and here his backpack is between his legs rather than on his back. The standard bearer's right arm is not positioned like those on the out-of-state sculptures, and the flag on the Michigan monument is much fuller. It forms a frame or backdrop for the sculptural group rather than a finial as it does on the other two casts of Defense of the Flag. These changes from the original design at Chickamauga and its replica at Marion mark Jackson's sculpture as the more mature work. They simplify the composition and strengthen it.
Why the latest cast replicates the earliest rather than the revised sculpture is unknown, but Jacksoninans can be proud that their monument to the First and Seventeenth Michigan Volunteer Infantry regiments is a unique cast that illustrates Taft's artistry.
If the community is successful in raising the funds necessary to
clean and coat the sculpture to protect it from the weather and to preserve it for future generations, the realistic details, the inspired composition, the play of light and shade on sculptural forms and textures will become even more evident and the work will be appreciated for what it is -- one of the finest Civil War monuments
of its scale in the country.
Frederick Hibbard, Laura Evans Memorial
Frederick Hibbard, Laura Evans Memorial also known as Civil War Soldiers Monument, bronze and granite, 1916, Mt. Evergreen Cemetery.
More than six hundred thousand soldiers perished in the Civil War. Few families escaped the war's impact. Thus it is appropriate, and not unexpected, that a town the size of Jackson should have a second Civil War memorial and that it should be located in the cemetery amid the graves visited by friends and relatives of those who made the supreme sacrifice.
A half-century after the war, Laura Evans established a trust in her will to fund a monument to the soldiers buried in Mt. Evergreen Cemetery and another memorial to all veterans who have served their country. She gave the Civil War soldiers monument in memory of her father, mother, and husband -- Henry Hague, Maryanne Morley Hague, and Emmet Mortimer Evans.
Frederick C. Hibbard, a Chicago sculptor who studied under Lorado Taft, created the memorial which is inscribed with its patron's name. As with Taft's Defense, Hibbard presents us with a three-figure composition. But two of Hibbard's figures are in relief and the soldier, although fully developed in three dimensions and free-standing in front of the tall stone stele, is positioned against the stone. This is not an uncommon design for this date, but it is an especially effective one. The graceful curving top of the bronze relief echoes the footprint of the monument. The soldier exhibits a confident stance with one foot slightly ahead of the other. He holds his rifle by his side and alertly peers into the distance. Behind him a male and a female figure are depicted in bas relief. The man appears to portray a specific individual in period clothing who holds his hat over his heart and bows his head. The woman might at first be perceived as an allegorical figure. She is beautiful and full-bodied, with long, flowing hair and a rather classical floor-length gown. But close examination reveals that her dress has lace at the sleeves. Indeed, a ring is discernable on the ring finger of her left hand.
Might these be portraits of Laura Evans' mother and father? If so, does the soldier depict Evans' young husband? Documentation is not immediately available to answer these questions. The local library has little information on the sculpture. Hibbard's archives are lost, and a full-scale geneological search has not been attempted. Nevertheless, the explanation is plausable if based solely on the physical evidence. Perhaps further research will confirm the identity of the sculpture's subjects and the full meaning of the memorial. For the moment it may be sufficient to recognize the powerful emotions conveyed by the faces of the older man and woman as the young warrior strides bravely off to do his duty, unknown to all whether he will survive or fall.
Lorado Taft, William A. Foote Memorial
Lorado Taft, William A. Foote Memorial, bronze and granite, 1923, Woodland Cemetery.
The William A. Foote Memorial shares compositional and other similarities with the Laura Evans Memorial. Both monuments feature bronze figures positioned against stone steles with gracefully curved tops; however, the sides of the Foote Memorial stele are also curved gently in a style characteristic of cemetery monuments in the 1920s, and the single figure on the Foote Memorial is much larger in scale than those on the Evans Memorial. Indeed, if the figure on the Foote Memorial should stand, she would be roughly twice lifesize -- larger than the statuary on the Evans Memorial and on Defense of the Flag. The large scale of the figure is not unique to this work by Taft. His other allegorical female figure in Michigan, Alma Mater (1929) at Muskegon High School, is about the same size, as are several of his other statues elsewhere. The compositional similarity may be nothing more than a stylistic sign of the times, since monumental sculpture mounted against stone backdrops became increasingly popular in the 1910s and 20s.
Taft created a grand and eloquent memorial for William Foote. The simple, swollen form of the polished black granite stele frames the allegorical figure majestically. The big-boned woman leans forward, holding a scroll of papers across her lap and a pen or stylus in her right hand. Her cloak is blown off her left shoulder, exposing a long and strong arm. Her youthful face is framed by short hair and a crown of laurel like that which the ancient Greeks bestowed upon their victors and heroes. Her eyes look over the heads of viewers and focus far in the distance. She seems lost in thought, perhaps remembering William Foote as she writes of his deeds in her scroll.
Foote, an Adrian native, founded Jackson Electric Light Works, which evolved into Consumers Energy. He was a robust man who died suddenly of a heart attack at age sixty. His wife founded Jackson's Foote Memorial Hospital in his memory. She also presumably made arrangements for the memorial sculpture in Woodland Cemetery.
Harriet Frishmuth, Sparks Memorial
Harriet Frishmuth, Sparks Memorial, also known as Roses of Yesterday,
bronze and granite, copyright 1923, Mt. Evergreen Cemetery.
Taft's allegorical sculpture on the Foote Memorial is not the only commemorative bronze female figure in Jackson's cemeteries. Mt. Evergreen Cemetery can point with pride to the Sparks Memorial, a smaller scale and less forceful figure that marks the graves of several members of the Sparks family -- a prominent local family that left its mark on the community most noticably through the donation of Cascades Park.
Like the other cemetery monuments discussed above, the Sparks Memorial consists of a bronze figure and a stone stele. But here the sculpture is fully developed in three dimensions rather than being attached to a stone at its back. The statue could stand independently of its stele. In fact, there are four other known bronze casts of this sculpture and at least one of them, the cast in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, is complete in and of itself.
Illustrations of the original model for the sculpture in Charles Aronson's Sculptured Hyacinths (New York City: Vantage Press, 1973) show that the demure young woman once held a sundial in her left hand, but this is now missing from the Sparks Memorial. The winsome lass tilts her head to smell the fragrant bouquet of roses cradled in her right arm while a gentle breeze blows her thin gown against her legs. The overall effect of the sculpture is appropriate for a contemplative cemetery memorial. It reminds us to smell the roses while we may for our time on earth is limited. The evocative character of the sculpture is also conveyed by the title, Roses of Yesterday, which was given to the sculpture by the artist.
Harriet Frishmuth (1880-1980) created dozens of delicate maidens similar to that on the Sparks Memorial during her long and productive career. Many were patterned on world-famous dancers like Desha Delteil, who posed for Roses of Yesterday which Frishmuth copyrighted in 1923. Frishmuth was a very successful sculptor who created numerous charming nymphs, naiads, and dancers which won awards at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the National Academy of Art, and the National Sculpture Society during the first two decades of the twentieth century, before the popularity of traditional figurative sculpture was displaced by abstract and non-representational art.
Louise Nevelson, Summer Night Tree
Louise Nevelson, Summer Night Tree, painted Cor-Ten steel, 1978,
Corner of Francis Street and Michigan Avenue, Downtown Jackson
By the time Louise Nevelson attended the dedication of her 30-foot tall welded steel assemblage of geometric and biomorphic forms titled Summer Night Tree on May 24, 1978, abstract and non-representational art was much more commonly installed in public places across the United States than were traditional figurative sculptures. Pablo Piccaso had introduced collage and assemblage techniques in the early years of the twentieth century with his Cubist creations and the Russian Constructivists and other modern sculptors had experimented with the technique on a monumental scale between the World Wars. Abstract and non-representational art gained favor throughout the century. By the 1960s countless artists were assembling found objects and custom-fabricated shapes and forms into large-scale constructions that often bore little or no resemblence to recognizable objects. Non-objective sculpture received an official endorsement when the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) first subsidized a work of that kind in a public place with the installation of Alexander Calder's La Grande Vitesse in Grand Rapids in 1969.
Nevertheless, Nevelson's Summer Night Tree was not met with unanimous popular approval when it arrived in Michigan almost a decade later. Letters to the Jackson Citizen-Patriot derided the appearance of the tall, dark artwork so prominently placed in an important urban plaza. Writers objected to the size, shape, and color of the sculpture, as well as to its abstract style. Some citizens complained about the $152,000 price tag, although $50,000 was provided by the NEA. The remaining money was raised in Jackson through private contributions, and those who helped finance the sculpture certainly celebrated the dedication of this fine abstract sculpture by the renowned artist.
Summer Night Tree is not the first monumental public work by Nevelson, an accomplished artist who since the 1950s had been creating large sculptures by assembling found objects (usually wood) in boxed, modular arrangements typically unified by monochromatic paint, most commonly black but sometimes gold and on rare occasion white. However, it is her first public sculpture in the Mid-West and the first of two Nevelson pieces installed in Michigan. The sculptor selected the site for Triology, a three-piece construction fabricated for the Bendix corporate headquarters in Southfield, the same year Summer Night Tree was dedicated.
Once commissioned to make a sculpture for Jackson, Nevelson visited the site to develop her concept. She then returned to her New York City studio for a year-long effort to realize her design. Her typical method was to work with the craftsmen at Lippincott, Inc., the renowned fabrication facility in North Haven, Connecticut used by many of the finest monumental sculptors of the late twentieth century. She gave form to her ideas by constructing small models with metal shapes laid out on the shop floor. Lippincott assembled the forms and Nevelson gave instructions for the enlargement to monumental scale. The Cor-Ten steel shapes were fabricated, assembled, sandblasted, and painted to Nevelson's specifications. As the artist wrote, "I build up elements and tear them down until my eye is satisfied. I rethink and add and change edges and thickness of forms -- as well as adding new pieces. My works are always in process until they are installed and, even then, I have made changes."
Nevelson apparently made no changes to Summer Night Tree after its installation in Jackson Square. The Citizen-Patriot quotes her on dedication day saying, "I'm very pleased with what I see. That Square and this piece are right for each other. It stands up well. That's a marriage that's going to work."
But like many marriages these days, it was on the rocks in little more than a decade. In 1988 Nevelson died and the Inn on Jackson Square closed. Summer Night Tree languished on a largely unused plaza. Its black paint faded and signs of rust appeared. Vandals left their marks on the planar surfaces of the towering form. In January 1993, Jackson Community College suggested that the sculpture be refurbished and moved to campus. Public debate ensued and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) appointed a committee to review its location, restoration, and maintenance. At a public hearing on March 31, twenty people spoke in favor of keeping the sculpture on the site where it was created to stand. In May, the DDA committee recommended against moving the sculpture and endorsed a plan to renovate and repaint it. City Council accepted the recommendation and on July 11 Tingley Bros. Painting, Inc. of Jackson painted Summer Night Tree for free.
Jackson appears to have secured at least a temporary lease on life for its Nevelson sculpture, although the economic underpinning of the artwork is probably no more stable than the financial viability of the commercial structures around Jackson Square. The sculpture belongs to the City and its maintenance is a City responsibility, but funding a maintenance plan is dependent upon tax revenues or private philanthropy. Summer Night Tree will need painting again in a few years, but will resources be available to ensure that the sculpture is painted competently and in accord with the artist's intent? The SOS! Community Campus condition assessment and treatment proposal offers some guidance, but it is up to the City and the community to ensure that the recommendations are implemented.
Richard Hunt, Victory Reconstruction
Richard Hunt, Victory Reconstruction, Cor-Ten steel, 1995,
Jackson Community College.
Both Summer Night Tree and Victory Reconstructed are fabricated in Cor-Ten steel, a material designed to form a thin rust coating that protects the metal from further deterioration. Cor-Ten was initially designed by U. S. Steel, Inc. in the 1950s for railroad boxcars. Because of its weather resistant-character and its aesthetic qualities, it was soon employed by architects as revetment, or facing, for buildings. Sculptors also began to utilize it, but some artists failed to realize the material's limitations. To maintain the protective rust coating the metal must be wetted and throughly dried periodically. Water must not be allowed to pool in or on the Cor-Ten surface. Victory Reconstructed should weather well as long there is drainage and ventilation beneath its base. Barring vandalism and the application of posters, it should need no more than an occasional rinse and perhaps gentle brushing to maintain its variegated patina.
Victory Reconstructed was made much like Summer Night Tree, although Hunt may have exercised more direct involvement in cutting and welding the preliminary model or maquette for the sculpture. The artist has long operated a large studio in an industrial building in Chicago and has recently opened a facility in Benton Harbor. His full-size sculpture was fabricated in Michigan at K & M Machine Fabricating in Cassopolis, where many works by Hunt and other contemporary sculptors are enlarged.
Hunt's work is in many important public and private collections across the United States and it has been included in a temporary exhibition on the lawn of the White House in Washington. Earlier in his career, Hunt created numerous studies based on figures of the ancient Greek goddess of victory, Nike. Like the winged Nike of Samothrace at the Louvre Museum in Paris, the best known of these ancient sculptures, Hunt's sculptural forms evoke the dynamism of the swift goddess who is typically depicted in wind-whipped drapery pausing momentarily as she bestows victory upon a warrior or athletic competitor. Victory Reconstruction is made in the tradition of Hunt's earlier "victories" and in the tradition of the original antique monuments, but the abstract construction for Jackson Community College is larger and more simplified than his earlier work. According to Ann Green, professor of English at JCC who interviewed the artist during the sculpture's installation, Hunt called his Jackson sculpture, "cubistic and architectonic." In other words, the forms are large and solid like buildings, yet those forms change in relation to one another as the viewer moves around the sculpture. In a letter to the Citizen-Patriot, Green recorded that Hunt was pleased with the way the sculpture fits into its setting and that people are able to see it from several different levels, from the ground as well as from the top floors of the Potter Center for the Performing Arts.
Freeman L. Schoolcraft, The Child, The Parent, and The Book
Freeman L. Schoolcraft, The Child, The Parent, and The Book, bronze and
limestone, 1988, Jackson District Library/Carnegie Branch, Michigan Ave.
The Potter Center is not the only public building in the area with a prominent public sculpture adorning its entrance. Freeman Schoolcraft's The Child, The Parent, and The Book sits beside the main entrance to the Jackson District Library welcoming patrons while celebrating the right to read and symbolizing the value of parents and children learning and growing together.
The material, color, scale, and style of The Child, The Parent, and The Book are very different from Victory Reconstructed. In contrast to the rough textures and richly varied red-brown tones of Hunt's huge weathering steel sculpture, Schoolcraft's lifesize bronze statuary exhibits smooth surfaces and a light green patina over a darker undercoat. Like the bright green corrosion products on the most exposed surfaces of older bronze sculptures, the light green patina on Schoolcraft's statuary has proven to be water soluble and has largely washed away. Some of the copper in the bronze dissolved by rain and snow melt has been deposited on the porous limestone base, giving the sculpture and its pedestal an antiqued appearance despite its young age. Whereas Hunt's Victory Reconstructed is abstract and only suggestive of a figure in motion, Schoolcraft's woman and child are realistic, although not as detailed as the figures of Frishmuth, Hibbard, or Taft's Defense of the Flag. In fact, the figurative forms are simplified and generalized rather like the figure on the Foote Memorial by Taft, Schoolcraft's teacher.
When Taft attended the dedication of the Foote Memorial he met Schoolcraft, who was to graduate from Jackson High School the following year. The young artist, one of eleven children, showed the renowned sculptor, author, and educator some of his work and was invited to apprentice with the master in Chicago. Schoolcraft prospered under Taft's tutelage. He remained in Chicago about forty years, teaching at the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Chicago, and Northwestern University. His sculpture adorns numerous buildings in and around Chicago and is in the collections of the Art Institute and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. A heart attack in 1964 effectively ended his career in sculpture, but he continued to paint until his death in 1983.
In November 1982, David Leamon, director of the Jackson District Library, wrote Schoolcraft to see if he would make a sculpture for his hometown library. The sculptor undertook the project enthusiastically and completed a small clay model, or maquette, shortly before his death. Schoolcraft's widow, Clara, and a friend made a more permanent plaster cast from the clay model about a year later. That 22-inch tall model was exhibited in a Schoolcraft retrospective at the Ella Sharp Museum in August 1986. Meanwhile, a grassroots fundraising effort to raise the $60,000 needed for the monument and another $15,000 for landscaping was spurred toward its goal by grants of $14,000 from the Michigan Council for the Arts and $10,000 from the Michigan Sesquicentennial Commission.
In late October 1987, Leamon delivered the maquette to the Pappas Art Foundry in Ypsilanti to be "pointed up" into a full-size clay model. Pointing is the traditional method of enlarging models using an elaborate measuring system (and sometimes a specialized measuring tool called a pointing machine) to shape the enlargement at hundreds of measuring points on the sculptural surface. The foundry used nearly 900 pounds of clay on a welded steel armature to create the 66-inch tall model.
In preparation for making the "lost wax" bronze cast they next painted a flexible rubber piece mold on the clay model and reinforced it so it would hold its shape. It was removed from the clay in pieces, reassembled, and then wax was sloshed around its hollow interior. Once the wax hardened into a shell between a quarter and a half inch thick, the excess wax was poured out leaving a hollow wax model whose exterior replicated the forms and surface textures of the original clay model. The rubber mold was carefully removed and the wax touched up.
The wax model was then cut into at least two sections and wax "gates" and "risers" were attached to the models as conduits for egress of the molten bronze and exits for hot gases it makes when it is poured into the mold. Metal pins called "chaplets" were also inserted through the mold to keep the inner and outer molds properly positioned once the wax was burned out. The wax models with gates and risers attached were then invested, or encased, inside and out in mold material. The heavy molds were heated in a kiln, allowing the wax to run out and leaving a thin cavity into which the foundrymen poured molten bronze at about 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.
As soon as the bronze cooled and hardened the mold was broken away exposing a bright bronze cast that looked a little like a pincushion with the numerous gates and risers projecting from the figurative forms. The gates and risers were cut away, the bronze sections were welded together, and all joints and imperfections were filled, ground smooth, or textured to match the surrounding areas. Once the "cold working" of the cast was completed the patina was applied. The bronze is usually heated with torches to accelerate the changes caused by the patination chemicals, but the Pappas Art Foundry applied a cold patina to tone down the bright "new penny" shine of the raw bronze cast and to color it green.
The production process was not unlike that employed to model, mold, and cast the older bronze sculptures in Jackson. The "lost wax" bronze casting technique used by the ancient Greeks is essentially the same today as it was two and a half millenia ago. Technical innovations have improved the furnaces and new materials facilitate the construction of lighter, cheaper, and quicker molds, but the production of bronze statuary remains an expensive and labor-intensive art.
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