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James Earle Fraser

Biography

For information, contact: Alice Levi Duncan, Director, New York, 212-628-9760, aduncan@gpgalleryny.com.

James Earle Fraser is one of the most important American academic sculptors, though his contribution remains undervalued.  He worked as an assistant to Augustus Saint-Gaudens on the Sherman Monument (1892-1903) for the Grand Army Plaza, in New York. His sculptural entries in major early twentieth century expositions, such as the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, and the 1939 New York World’s Fair, earned him medals, as well as public and critical acclaim. The design of the Indian head and buffalo nickel for the United States Treasury in 1912, the figure of Theodore Roosevelt on horseback for the entry to the American Museum of Natural History, and numerous other public sculptures, including the Department of the Treasury, the Commerce Building, the National Archives, and the Supreme Court, in Washington D.C., are among the sculptor’s most notable public commissions. The sculptor was also one of the organizers of and contributors to the famous and avant-garde International Exhibition of Modern Art, known as the Armory Show, of 1913.

Fraser’s most famous sculpture neither evokes his European academic training, nor the influence of the East Coast cities where he worked; End of the Trail is a romanticized and nostalgic image of the vanishing West.  The sculptor began working on the model while he was a student studying the monumental works at the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893.  He developed the idea into a monumental plaster sculpture which he submitted to the 1915 San Francisco Exposition and for which he won the gold medal. This monumental plaster, which measures eighteen feet high,

(National Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City) was subsequently cast for sites in public parks, in Wisconsin and California.  This image was so popular that the artist issued reductions in various sizes.