Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ever wonder where that iconic bust of Fighting Bob La Follette was made, and who made it?

"One Day Longer, One Day Stronger. And Tomorrow We Win."
The sculpted bust of Robert M. "Fighting Bob" La Follette in the Capitol became a focal point of the Capitol protests last year, surrounded by signs and people asking, "What would Fighting Bob do?"

The bust in the Capitol is a copy of  the original by a great American sculptor of the early 20th Century. He was Jo Davidson, who seemed to sculpt almost famous person of his time. This photo of Fighting Bob sitting for him in his Paris studio was published in a photo gallery on the NY Times Lens blog today. Click on this link to go to the gallery and the story behind it, and then click on #16 to see the photo full-size. Other photos in the series drawn from the Times' archive of artists photographed with their subjects are also fascinating -- for example, Einstein sitting for an Arthur Lowenthal bust in Berlin, Claire Luce being painted in her Ziegfield Follies costume, and Helen Keller sitting for another Davidson bust.

What's ironic is that, although the Times went to a lot of trouble arranging these photo shoots of artists and their famous subjects, the artists who photographed them are unknown. Back then, the only photo credit in the NY Times read "The New York Times."

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