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Cyrus Edwin Dallin

Birth place or City of origin: Springville
State of origin: UT
Last known City:
Last known State:
Start/Birth date: 1861
Death/End date: 1944

A sculptor of Indian figures and portraits, Cyrus Dallin created work that showed Indians as having noble bearing, simplicity, dignity, and elaborate costumes. This was a departure from earlier colonial depictions. He was one of the first sculptors to recognize the plight of the American Indian, devoting his life and art to making dramatic and heroic monuments, which proclaimed the Indian point of view. Born in 1861 in a log cabin in Springville, Utah, the son of Mormon pioneers grew up near Paiute and Ute Indians -- exposure that set the course of his career. As a youngster, he modeled wolves, antelope, buffalo, and other wild animals of his surroundings. On the way, he met Crow Indians that he later used as subjects. He also studied in Paris in 1880 at the Academie Julian and was further inspired to depict western subjects when he saw Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in Paris. Throughout his life he was an eloquent defender of the American Indian. His intimate knowledge of them gave his work an authenticity and a reality heretofore unknown. His personal involvement with their cause gave his statues a dramatic impact, which has retained its strength through the years. The simplicity of his sculptural style with its emphasis on the essentials rather than the decorative gives Dallin’s statures a special appeal to the aesthetic taste of the modern world.

 

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