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Constance Whitney Warren

(1888 - 1948)

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Biography

Constance Whitney Warren, a sculptor of horses and other Western subjects, was born into a wealthy family on January 17, 1888, in New York City, her winter residence, spending summers in Newport, Rhode Island. She was intrigued by her mining engineer father's experiences on the frontier, drawing and painting horses as a schoolgirl. In 1912, she married Count Guy de Lasteyrie, a descendent of Lafayette, dividing their time between an apartment in Paris and a nearby chateau.

During World War I, Warren chauffeured English staff officers. After the war, she began to sculpt seriously, exhibiting at the Paris Salon a few years later, her reputation spreading to the United States. However, her's was to be a tragic destiny. In November 1930, she was committed to an an institution for the insane, remaining there until her death eighteen years later on October 11, 1948, in Beacon, New York. Warren's career was a brief ten years, though it is said that she may have created up to one hundred sculptures, many of cowboys and their horses. Stuart Preston, art critic of the New York Times, reviewed Warren's work in a 1953 memorial exhibition at Ferargil Galleries, New York "A sharp observer of anatomy and a vigorous modeler, she was at her best with figures in violent action."

Constance Warren's work can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey.

Her life-size equestrian sculpture, The Cowboy, was awarded an honorable mention in 1923 at the Paris Salon. On January 1925, it was placed at the Texas State Capitol in Austin. A similar sculpture was acquired by the state of Oklahoma in 1926, standing today in front of the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. Western movie star William S. Hart was the subject of Rider. Other works include Sunfisher, which was exhibited at the Paris Salon 1926; Lariat Thrower; and Old Chisholm Trail Cowboy. Warren's non-western works include Steeplechase; Venture Driven by the Late Alfred G. Vanderbilt; Josephine, a dog; and Sphinx, a lion.

Reference works containing the life and art of Constance Warren include: Who Was Who in American Art; Opitz; Gardner; Petteys; Samuels &. Samuels, Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia; Broder, Bronzes; O'Brien; Constance Whitney Warren; Austin American, 19 Jan 1925, 20 Jan 1925; New York Times, 8 Feb 1953; Newport Daily News, 13 Oct 1948; death certificate; M. Lyons (Newport Public Library), 1976.

 

Source:
Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki Kovinick, "An Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West"