Letter to the Editor

A point of correction on Athenaeum’s D.C. French exhibit

Dear Editor:

Regarding your recent article announcing the opening of a new exhibit at the Boston Athenaeum on Daniel Chester French, it is important for your readers to know that Daniel Chester French — “one of America’s foremost sculptors of public monuments, best known for his colossal marble Abraham Lincoln (1922) at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC “ — was not “sculpted” by French.

It was, in fact, the six Piccirilli Brothers —  prize-winning sculptors in their own right —  who actually carved 28 blocks of marble in their Bronx New York Studio, and who also assembled their sculpted work at the Washington D.C., site — their work and talent brought Lincoln to Life, in. the 19 feet x 19 feet heroic seated Abraham Lincoln sculpture of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

A poster-sized publication by the Department of the Interior, available at the Lincoln Memorial site, clearly states, “Daniel Chester French designed the statue, the Piccirili Brothers of New York carved it.”

Visitors to D.C. French’s  “Chesterwood” museum in West Stockbridge, Mass., will see the “plaster” model  — about 6 Feet high, by CFrench — an they could request to view a very large photo which shows DC French in top coat and hat standing below the Piccirilli Brothers who are on ladders “assembling” the heroic-size marble blocks they had sculpted in their Bronx, N.Y., studio.

It is unfair for the Athenaeum to “couch” language that gives D.C. French “credit” for being the sculptor of the remarkable marble “Seated Lincoln” at the Lincoln Memorial.  It has been known that the Piccirilli Brothers were the marble carvers of “all but one” of D.C. French’s “plaster designs.”

Terri Mazzulli

West End resident

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