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Stanford White

Autographed Letter

1250490-1

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Stanford White, architect of the Quadriga atop Brooklyn's Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, writes to the bronzes' sculptor Frederick W. MacMonnies in Paris that "nobody has yet turned up from Barbedienne," the French foundry that produced the bronze.

Typed Letter Signed "aff[ectionately / White," 1 page, 8" x 10.5". On McKim, Mead & White letterhead, New York, August 30,1898. To sculptor Frederick W. MacMonnies, Paris. Salutation "Dear Mac" in White's hand. Fine condition.

In full, "The bronzes for the Quadriga have arrived, but nobody has yet turned up from Barbedienne, Wont you go to Allard & Son's, 29 Rue de Londres, and ask to see a little head of Velasquez, which Boldini sent me a wild telegram about, and which I bought on the telegram and a photograph which had been sent over? Please do this as soon as you can, and let me know what you think of it."

The Soldiers' and Sailors' Arch at the Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, New York, across from the main entrance to Prospect Park at Flatbush Avenue, is a triumphal arch dedicated "To the Defenders of the Union, 1861-1865." Olmstead and Vaux, the landscape architects of Prospect Park, in collaboration with architect Stanford White, designed the Arch. General W.T. Sherman spoke at the laying of the cornerstone in 1889 and President Grover Cleveland spoke at the 1892 unveiling.

McKim, Mead and White recommended bronze status and, in 1894, Frederick W. MacMonnies was hired by the City of Brooklyn to design the bronze sculptural groupings. MacMonnies added Army and Navy sculptures and the allegorical crowning sculpture atop the Arch. It depicts three female sculptures, the winged goddess of victory in the center following victorious combat with instruments of war and the Quadriga representing the Union Army: two winged female attendants are seen removing two of the four Quadriga horses for peacetime use while trumpeting the victory and emancipation. The Quadriga was cast in Paris at the LeBlanc Barbedienne Foundry.

The November 6, 1898, edition of the New-York Tribune pictured "Brooklyn's Quadriga … Being Placed on the Memorial Arch…" The February 12, 1899, edition of The New York Times reported "The Quadriga of Frederick MacMonnies has been placed upon the Soldiers and Sailors' Memorial Arch at the main entrance to Prospect Park, Brooklyn … It is a colossal bronze group representing the triumph of American arms and the dignity of the Nation … This great work of art was placed upon the arch recently without any ceremony attending it … The work was to be completed by MacMonnies in two years in Paris, where he now resides. The sculptor, however, took four years to finish the group to his satisfaction…"

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