Daniel Chester French: The Female Form Revealed
David B. Dearinger
During this lecture, David Dearinger, the Athenæum’s Director of Exhibitions and Susan Morse Hilles Senior Curator of Paintings & Sculpture, will speak about Daniel Chester French’s representation of the female figure. Daniel Chester French (1850-1931) was America’s foremost sculptor of public monuments from the late 1870s to the late 1920s. His masterpieces adorn civic spaces, university campuses, and urban landmarks across the United States. Many of French’s public works commemorate historical figures, such as his life-size bronze sculpture The Minute Man (1875) at Concord, MA, or the colossal marble Abraham Lincoln (1922), displayed at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. His renown for these male-oriented masterpieces is merited, but French was equally proficient at modeling the female figure. Feminine beauty in its idealized form was often at the forefront of French’s work. French’s allegorical representation of the female form seeks to fulfill a sensual, tactile, and cerebral narrative commemorating great human experiences. This aspect of his career, which has previously received little scholarly attention, is the focus of the ambitious Daniel Chester French: The Female Form Revealed and will be further examined during this lecture.
David B. Dearinger is Director of Exhibitions and Susan Morse Hilles Senior Curator of Paintings & Sculpture at the Boston Athenæum. He holds a PhD in art history from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York with a specialization in nineteenth century American art. He became a member of the curatorial staff at the National Academy of Design in New York in 1985, where he served as Chief Curator from 1995 until 2004, when he joined the Boston Athenæum. He has taught art history at a number of institutions, including the State University of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, where he taught for over twenty years. He has lectured and published widely in the field of American art and has curated and organized a number of exhibitions in New York and Boston.
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