Who Are You?
It worried me that I couldn’t evaluate Conkling from contemporary accounts, so in Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan, I turned the Conkling essay into a discussion of how knowledge affects one’s perception of works of art. I would have been much less confused about Conkling had Candice Millard’s riveting Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President been published a few years earlier.
Conkling was a frequent subject of political cartoons. Here he is, looking remarkably similar toWard's sculpture. The caption reads,
John Quincy Adams Ward
As a young man, John Quincy Adams Ward (1830-1910) worked with Henry Kirke Brown on the Washington at Union Square, dedicated in 1856. Far earlier than his contemporaries, War believed American sculptors should present American ideas and be trained in America: he never studied abroad. He was the leading American sculptor for fifty-odd years, known as the "Dean of American Sculpture." Indian Hunter, 1869 (Central Park, near the Mall), established his reputation.
Manhattan has Washington, Greeley, Holley, Conkling, Dodge and Shakespeare, as well as the Seventh Regiment Memorial, 1869(Central Park, West Drive at 67th Street) and the Pilgrim, 1885 (Central Park, east end of the 72nd-Street Traverse). The original sculptures of the New York Stock Exchange pediment were Ward's, but they've been replaced with copies. Brooklyn has Henry Ward Beecher, 1891 (Columbus Park).
Copyright (c) 2013 Dianne L. Durante