Study for a Monument to Walt Whitman

John Bradley Storrs (1885–1956) Valsuani Fondeurs

Object Details

  • 1919
  • Medium:
  • Bronze
  • Dimensions:
  • 11 1/2 X 12 1/2 X 2 3/4
  • Accession Number:
  • 2001.1
  • Artwork Credits:
  • Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

Object Description

Storrs and his artistic generation, which included the painters Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, and Georgia O’Keeffe, whose work is on view nearby, idolized the poet Walt Whitman (1819–1892). With his spiritual prose, Whitman was hailed by Storrs as “the one who has discovered a national soul and has given it expression in a form that can be called art.” As a tribute to Whitman, Storrs depicted this rider upon the winged-horse Pegasus from classical mythology that symbolized poetic inspiration. To the sculptor, wings also symbolized freedom, the liberation of the soul, a soaring creative imagination, and the new technology of flight. Storrs hoped to enlarge this work into a public monument in his hometown of Chicago, but he was unable to raise enough funds for the project.

Educator Resources

Essential Questions

  • Why do artists make studies before completing a work of art?
  • What are some purposes of monuments?
  • Why would an artist make a monument to someone?
  • What types of people are typically honored with monuments?
  • How do communities decide who should be memorialized with a monument?
  • Why might an artist choose to make an unrealistic representation of a person they were honoring in a monument?
Location: Off View
Part of: Sculptures