More than eight-million visitors come to the Lincoln Memorial every year, perhaps, the most popular site of its kind in America. The monument has even come to replace the caricature of Uncle Sam as an icon representing the United States. However, regardless of the success of his creation, the artist himself has been swept under the shadows of his art. We know his work, and not just the seated Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial, but hardly anyone remembers who Daniel Chester French was.
He was one of the leading lights of the American Renaissance, which his career neatly bookends. French created over two hundred monuments which today enhance the public experience in parks and buildings across the Northeastern United States.
But director Montes-Bradley goes beyond the artist himself to explore other figures whose contributions to public monuments were never recognized —the Italian artisans who brought artists’ designs to life in marble and stone, and the models who posed for the sculptures, such as the African American Hettie Anderson, whose face is immortalized in major civic works by French and many of his contemporaries. Particular attention is also paid by director Montes-Bradley to a select number of French’s works such as The Lafayette Memorial in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, the allegorical representations of Brooklyn and Manhattan, now standing in front of the Brooklyn Museum, the group known as the Four Continents on the façade of the US Customs House in Batter Park, The Millmore Memorial in Boston, and the Melvin Memorial in Concord, Mass. Finally, the film approaches the seated Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial, French’s best-known sculptures, and America’s favorite. HD | 60 minutes
A film made possible with the support of the
NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION
Richard Guy WILSON Michael RICHMAN Harold HOLZER
Thayer TOLLES Adrian Michele BOGART BENEPE William SHERMAN
Eve KAHN David DEARINGER Judith SHEA Daniel PRESTON
Significant support for this film has come from
THE MORRIS AND ALMA SCHAPIRO FUND
Written, Edited and Directed by