The ladies have been too long neglected in the National Statuary Hall and that has finally been noticed! I am particularly pleased by Nebraska and Kansas, who are both in the process of sending two of their great ladies to Washington!!
My first in this 3-part series is particularly exciting because I have seen the maquette, or small version of the future full sized sculpture, to be added as one of the two representatives of Nebraska in the National Statuary Hall. I am also pleased to have met Creighton University sculpture professor and renowned midwestern sculptor Littleton Alston, who revealed the maquette at the 2019 Annual Spring Conference.
More than 70 artist-applicants from throughout the United States were considered by the selection committee prior to choosing Sculptor Alston. About his choice settling upon how he wished to depict Cather, he said that he wanted to capture her intelligence and the twinkle in her eyes, "standing, as if surrounded by nature, at home in the Nebraska prairie."
As Littleton Alston gently lifted the drapery covering the unfired clay sculpture, the ohs and ahs of Cather scholars and fans filled the room. Several of those scholars, so learned about details of Cather herself as well as of her writing, whispered excitedly about the walking costume the sculptor had chosen for Willa. 'That is the attire she wore in New Hampshire to walk up the mountain to the tent that had been set up for her as a private place to find the solitude for writing,' was whispered in varous versions. Even the walking stick she used has been included in the maquette.
Sculptor Alston studied many photograph in making his decision about the depiction of Willa Cather, and perhaps he saw a picture of Cather wearing her New Hampshire hiking attire. However, the choice does seem especially appropriate for her arrival in Sculpture Hall. The beautifully beaded evening dresses she loved for attending the opera would not have been appropriate for the serious opportunity of representing Nebraska in the halls of Congress. I hope Willa would be pleased.
|Lyn with Littleton Alston|
The new statues of Willa Cather and Ponca Chief Standing Bear will replace the former Nebraska statues in Sculpture Hall of Julius Sterling Morton and William Jennings Bryan. (Of course, Bryan was the People's Party Presidential nominee when they chose to join the Democrats in nominating Bryan for President. Isaac would surely have cast his vote for Bryan.)
Next week will continue with the new statue representing Kansas.