Updated: Sep 3, 2021
What is all this talk about the Lincoln Memorial and Daniel Chester French?
While working on the final brushstrokes to Black Fiddlers, we have been quietly working on the development of an extraordinary biographical portrayal on Daniel Chester French. Who’s French? Exactly! Daniel Chester French is one of America’s most distinguished sculptors and his Opus Magnum is now undergoing an eighteen-million-dollar restoration as part of the Lincoln Memorial centennial. The work will be unveiled and rededicated on May 28, 2012.
However, the name of Daniel Chester French, the artist who conceived and carried on the work of art that framed and served as the stage to Marian Andersons, and as a shrine to the Civil Rights Movement, remains in the shadows of public interest. We now intent to correct that oversight with a 30 minute documentary film that will bring his life and work to audiences all over the world, a life and work that went far beyond the Lincoln Memorial to embellish the public spaces, parks and avenues, state and academic buildings with the extraordinary gift of his delicate art.
Daniel Chester French’s film will be centered around Chesterwood, his home-studio nested the natural beauty of western Massachusetts. From Chesterwood we will approach his early life in Concord, where the intellectual milieu of the ninetieth century nourished his appetite for beauty and the arts. It was there, in Concord, that his professional career was launched with the unveiling of The Minute Man in time for the Centenarian of the American Revolution.
While at Chesterwood we’re planning to explore the delicate figure of Andromeda, the eternal custodian of the mythical space, that other female figure that together with Memory at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, are silent witnesses to the artist infatigable pursue of perfection.
During the coming winter months, we are also planing to follow French’s footsteps in Rome and Florence where the sculptor first came in contact with a urban landscape where human figures made of marble and bronze, shared with citizens a common space, birthing from the same air.
Daniel Chester French, is an ambitions documentary to be produced by Heritage Film Project and the Documentary Film Fund with the support of Chesterwood and under the fiscal sponsorship of The National Trust for Historic Preservation.