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Museum: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Gardens: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Today's Hours
Museum: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Gardens: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Weinman, A.A.
Collection: American Collection
Specialties: Numismatics, Sculpture
View Artwork
Born in Germany, Adolph Alexander Weinman immigrated to the United States
with his mother when he was ten. At 15, he was apprenticed to carver
Frederick Kaldenberg, who worked primarily in wood and ivory. His evenings
were spent studying drawing and modeling at Cooper Union. Later, Weinman
studied at the Art Students League where he was instructed by the premiere
American sculptor at that time, Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

During his early career, Weinman worked in the studios of a number of
significant sculptors including Saint-Gaudens, Philip Martiny, Olin Warner
(with whom he worked on the bronze doors for the Library of Congress),
Charles Niehaus, and Daniel Chester French. In 1904, he was successful
enough to open his own studio, just in time to produce the majestic
sculpture, Destiny of the Red Man, located in our gardens, which
brought him his first national recognition as an independent artist.

Weinman was especially interested in medallic art and began producing
small, exquisitely wrought portrait reliefs, medals, and coins. Many of
you may own your own Weinmans: he is most famous for designing the
"Mercury" dime and the "Walking Liberty" half dollar coins. Monuments were
particularly in vogue during the late nineteenth century, and Weinman
became one of the premier sculptors in this field. His works including two
statues of Abraham Lincoln, one at Hodgenville, Kentucky (Lincoln's
birthplace) and the other for the rotunda of the State Capitol at
Frankfort. Other memorials designed by Weinman include the General
Alexander Macomb Monument in Detroit, the memorial to Colonel William F.
Vilas in Vicksburg National Military Park, the Maryland Union Soldiers and
Sailors Monument, and the Spencer Memorial in Rock Creek Cemetary in
Washington, D.C.

Among his other sculptures were both portrait statues and more speculative
dramatic works. His portrait works include those of Governor W.W.
Claiborne in the Louisiana State Capitol, Alexander J. Cassatt (brother of
the famous painter Mary Cassatt) and Samuel Rea for the Pennsylvania
Railroad Terminal, and Governor DeWitt Clinton and Alexander Hamilton for
the Museum of the City of New York. Among his dramatic works are
Fountain of the Water Centaurs, located on the grounds of the
Missouri State Capitol, Riders of the Dawn, a fountain piece at
Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina, and the well-known pieces Rising
Sun, Descending Night
(both on view at the Gallery), Duet,
, and Aphrodite.

For all his diversity, however, Weinman thought of himself as primarily an
architectural sculptor and was the favored sculptor for the preeminent New
York architectural firm of the early twentieth century, McKim, Mead and
White.. He designed freizes and ornamentation for a number of major public
buildings, including the Jefferson Memorial, and also designed the fac,ade
of the New York Municipal Building. Of all his major architectural work,
the most famous was the artwork he did for the old Pennsylvania Railway
Station. Old Penn Station was one of the premier attractions of New York
for decades, but was unfortunately demolished for a new station in 1966, a
heresy contributing to the establishment of the National Registry of
Historic Places.

Weinman won many awards during his life, including the Fine Arts Medal of
the American Institute of Architects (1930), the Honorary Presidency and
Medal of Honor of the National Sculpture Society (1948), and Gold Medal
from the Architectural League of New York (1913), Pennsylvania Academy of
Fine Arts (1924), and the National Academy of Design (1945). He also
served as president of the National Sculpture Society from 1928 to 1931,
and was a member of the New York City Art Commission from 1924 to 1928,
and the National Commission of Fine Arts from 1928 to 1932. In 1911, he
was elected a full member of the National Academy of Design, and was later
a member of the American Numismatic Society and the American Academy of
Arts and Letters. A.A. Weinman died at Port Chester, New York, on August
8, 1952 after an outstanding career bringing honor to himself and his
adopted country.

Everl Adair, Director of Research and Rare Collections