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Atlanta Monuments Update

Ever since I worked with Chesterwood and the National Trust for Historic Preservation on the documentary about Daniel Chester French, I wanted to visit Atlanta and see in person the memorials to Samuel Spencer and Jesse Parker. The opportunity came this week, thanks to a generous donation from the Brock Family towards "The Italian Factor," the film about the Piccirilli Brothers in which I find myself involved today.

@Eduardo Montes-Bradley
Samuel Spencer Memorial. Photo by Eduardo Montes-Bradley

@Eduardo Montes-Bradley
Jesse Parker Memorial. Photo by Eduardo Montes-Bradley

Far from being a coincidence, the works of Daniel Chester French and the Piccirilli Brothers are very closely related. The Piccirilli Brothers carved all but perhaps just two of Daniel Chester French's designs. If you see a monument in bronze by Daniel Chester French, it was most likely cast at Roman Works in Long Island. If it is made of stone, it almost certainly went through the Piccirilli Marble Carving Studio in New York.

Atlanta Monuments Update | Each of the two monuments in Atlanta represented their own set of unique circumstances. The Samuel Spencer memorial has recently survived the difficult discussion of monuments about Confederate figures and has only recently found a safe haven at the Atlanta History Center. The Jesse Parker monument remains where it has always been, memorializing not just the intended subject but also Heattie Anderson, the African American model who posed for the allegorical figure. Eve Kahn wrote an article in The New York Times about Heattie Anderson which I strongly recommend everyone to read.

Visiting these monuments in Atlanta has been a deeply enriching experience, connecting the dots between the artistry of Daniel Chester French and the craftsmanship of the Piccirilli Brothers. It's a testament to the enduring legacy of these artists and their contributions to American public art.


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Just taking this opportunity to tell you how much I enjoy and value your work and these updates, especially those on Daniel Chester French and the Piccirilli Brothers.  

Kathy and I are “cross country” bicycle riders.  We see all manner of historical and cultural sites.  A few years ago we rode our bicycles to Stockbridge and toured Chesterwood.  We intentionally look for French sculptures wherever we go.

I also teach high school and am regularly presenting these works to my students.  I’ve used your documentary on Daniel Chester French.  I can’t wait to see your documentary on the Piccirilli Brothers.  Is it still due out in October?  

Thanks for all your hard work.  It makes a difference, especially to…

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