French, Daniel Chester

French, Daniel Chester,

1850–1931, American sculptor, b. Exeter, N.H., studied in Florence and in Boston with William Rimmer. After executing his first large work, The Minute Man (1875), he received many important commissions, including his most famous achievement, the heroic Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. His style varies from a detailed realistic rendering, especially in portraiture, to a grand ideal in his allegorical works. Some of the best of his statues and memorials are John Harvard and the bust of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Harvard); Death and the Young Sculptor, Milmore Memorial (Boston); Mourning Victory, Melvin Memorial (Concord, Mass.); Lewis Cass (Capitol, Washington, D.C.); and Alma Mater (Columbia Univ.). In collaboration with Edward C. Potter he executed equestrian statues of General Grant (Philadelphia), General Washington (Paris), and General Joseph Hooker (Boston).


See biography by his daughter, M. F. Cresson (1947).

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French, Daniel Chester

(1850–1931) sculptor; born in Exeter, N.H. He grew up in Cambridge and Concord, Mass., and studied anatomy with William Rimmer (in Boston, early 1870s) and drawing with William Morris Hunt. He also studied briefly in New York City with John Quincy Adams Ward and then in Italy (1874). He returned to Washington, D.C. (1876) and became the most popular American sculptor of the period, known for his elegant academic and historical work, as in the Minute Man (1873–75), the seated bronze of John Harvard (1882), and Abraham Lincoln (1918–22) in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. He was based in New York City after 1888 and at a summer home, Chesterwood, in Stockbridge, Mass., which is now a museum exhibiting much of his work.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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