Untitled Document

Artist Biography

 Paul Manship was one of the most innovative and successful American sculptors of the first half of the twentieth century. Best remembered for monumental outdoor works such as the Prometheus Fountain of 1934 at Rockefeller Center, and the Time and the Fates Sundial created for the 1939 New York World’s Fair, Manship also created many smaller sculptures that have remained immensely popular to this day. He was one of the first American sculptors to study and interpret archaic Greek and other primitive sources, such as East Indian sculpture. While his work is deeply rooted in tradition, and is executed with exacting precision and skilled craftsmanship, it reflects the modern era’s love of streamlined motion. Indeed, Manship’s involvement with the archaic places him squarely within the modernist movement, which embraced the clean lines and simplified forms of primitive art. Though he never considered himself a part of the movement, his work inspired the Art Deco style in this country.

Born in 1885 in St. Paul, Minnesota, Paul Manship studied painting at the St. Paul Institute, but switched to sculpture when he discovered he was color-blind. In 1905, he enrolled in anatomy classes at the Art Students League of New York, and became the assistant of Solon Borglum, a specialist in animal sculpture. After further study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Manship traveled to Spain with fellow sculptor Hunt Diederich. Little remains of Manship’s earliest work, but the extant pieces follow the example of Rodin’s freely modeled forms, and consist of animal subjects as well as subjects from antiquity. From 1908-09, Manship studied with Isidore Konti, who was so impressed with his talents that he persuaded him to compete for the Prix de Rome offered by the American Academy in Rome. Manship won the award, which included a three-year internship at the Academy. The fact that he went to Rome to study rather than to Paris meant that classical art had a lasting influence on him. In addition to studying the work of Donatello and Michelangelo in Rome, Manship traveled to Greece, where he deepened his interest in antique subject matter, and, most significantly, where he first encountered the archaic style of ancient Greek art.

Manship’s brilliant fifty-year career was launched in 1912 when his Roman works were shown at the Architectural League in New York. The show was sold out, and the critics raved, hailing him as a prodigy. Several American museums made acquisitions, and he began to receive architectural and garden commissions. After World War I, Manship and his family lived in London and Paris until 1927. Many of his most famous works date from this period, including Diana and Actaeon, of 1925, and the life-size version of Indian Hunter and His Dog, of 1926.  

Other casts of the smaller version of this piece are in the following museum collections: Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts; Ball State University Museum of Art, Muncie, Indiana; Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina; Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York; Minnesota Museum of American Art, St. Paul; Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh; National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida; R. W. Norton Gallery of Art, Shreveport, Louisiana.