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Solon Hannibal Borglum

(1868 - 1922)

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Biography

Solon Borglum grew up in the prairie town of Freemont, Nebraska. At fifteen, he left school and went to live on a ranch in California where he learned the routines of cowboy life and upon his return to Nebraska became a rancher himself. With the encouragement of his older brother the sculptor Gutzon Borglum (known for carving Stone Mountain and Mt. Rushmore), Solon began studying art.

In 1895, Borglum enrolled in the Cincinnati Art School. Based on the merit of a statue of a horse, the anatomical structure of which deeply fascinated him, he earned enough money and the backing of a patron to attend the Academy Julian in Paris. Though he disliked the academic discipline and the use of plaster casts as models, he was able to further his sculptural technique under the animalier sculptor Emmanuel Fremiet while studying exotic live animals at the Jardin des Plantes with his fellow American Alexander Phimister Proctor.  With the encouragement of Augustus Saint-Gaudens and the financial support of a contract with the marketer Theodor B. Starr, Borglum returned to Paris in 1900, displaying several works at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 (awarded a silver medal) and then exhibiting works at the World’s Fairs in Buffalo (1901) Saint Louis (1904) and San Francisco (1913).


In 1907, Borglum settled in Silvermine, Connecticut, where he was a leader of the Silvermine artist community and was friend and teacher to young artists like Paul Manship and James Earle Fraser. Although he was almost fifty years old at the outbreak of World War I, Borglum served in the army. Upon his return to the United States in 1919 he established and directed the School of American Sculpture until his premature death in 1922.

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