Frazee, John(frā`zē), 1790–1852, American pioneer sculptor, b. Rahway, N.J. Without formal instruction, he advanced from tombstone cutting to portrait busts, including those of Daniel Webster, John Marshall, and other notables. The portrait of John Wells (1824; St. Paul's Church, New York City) is said to be the first marble bust executed in this country by a Native American. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts owns the original cast of a self-portrait.
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Frazee, John(1790–1852) sculptor; born in Rahway, N.J. Born on a farm, he was apprenticed to a mason, became a stonecutter, moved to New Brunswick, N.J. (1814), and opened a stone carvers shop in New York City (1818). He is considered the first sculptor of a marble bust in America, that of John Wells (1824), and was a founder of the National Academy of Design (1826). He was also the architect and superintendent of the New York Custom House (1834–41).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.