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Cyrus Dallin

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Biography

Born near Salt Lake City, Utah, Dallin first studied modeling with Truman H. Bartlett in Boston. The sculptor was able to travel to that city in 1880 after receiving a scholarship from his patron C. H. Blanchard whom Dallin had impressed with two ideal heads modeled in clay he had found in the mine where he worked in Utah. In 1888, with the support of his fiancée’s family, Dallin continued his studies in Paris, enrolling at the Académie Julian where he became a student of Henri Chapu. The following year the young sculptor passed the entrance exams for the École des Beaux-Arts, but declined to attend, choosing instead to return to Boston in 1890. Elected a member of the National Sculpture Society in 1893, Dallin completed many commissions for public sculptures throughout his career, including statues for the Salt Lake Temple, the Library of Congress, the Drexel Institute, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. After settling permanently in Arlington Heights in 1900, Dallin continued to sculpt and began a second, parallel career as an art instructor, teaching modeling at the Boston Normal Art School. 

 

Dallin’s continuing fame is based largely on four equestrian statues of Native Americans, now often referred to as the Epic of the Indian, which Dallin modeled between 1890 and 1909. These sculptures established a new language for equestrian monuments, the subjects of which in Western art were previously limited to white military or political heroes. Dallin’s inspiration for the series originated on a train trip from Utah to Kansas City during which he met and developed a friendship with a group of Indians who were traveling to Washington, DC. He said of the encounter: “…I have never got over that chance four-day contact with those Indians….It has influenced my life and my art for half a century….It was while I was in Paris that I conceived the idea of Indian equestrian groups which have since been completed….”[1]



[1] Cyrus Dallin as quoted in Kent Ahrens, Cyrus E. Dallin: His Small Bronzes and Plasters (Corning, New York: Rockwell Museum, 1995), 37.

 

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