Gorham 1913 Dallin Appeal to the Great Spirit | RI Antiques Mall

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Gorham 1913 Dallin Appeal to the Great Spirit


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This listing is for a rare antique Gorham bronze limited edition statue of Cyrus Edwin Dallin’s Appeal to the Great Spirit.

Cyrus Edwin Dallin (November 22, 1861 – November 14, 1944) was born in Springville, Utah Territory, which his parents had helped found. His playmates were Indian boys from nearby encampments; he later recalled that he often modeled little figures of animals from clay from along the riverbanks with them. When he determined to make sculpture his life’s work, he went east for instruction, first in Boston and, in 1888, in Paris. While studying with Henri-Michel Chapu at the Academie Julian, he was taught to depict mythological subjects in the classical mode, but all of that was discarded when Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show visited Paris in 1889, captivating the French who thronged to see it. The sight of an Indian once again so thrilled Dallin that it set him on the course of his most important work: the ennobling of the Indian in bronze monuments.

Success came immediately when he created the first of four great Indian equestrian statues, the much-praised Signal for Peace, modeled in Paris. A few years later came the somber but dramatic Medicine Man (1900), described by Dallin as gravely warning his people about the intrusions of the whites into their lands. The third of the series, The Protest, representing the Indians’ decision to take to the warpath, was shown at the St. Louis Exposition of 1904, but it was never put into permanent material.

The final statue in the series, Appeal to the Great Spirit, was modeled in Dallin’s Boston studio in 1907–08. The plaster version was shown to great acclaim at the National Sculpture Society’s exhibition of 1908 in Baltimore and the following year at the annual Salon in Paris, where it was awarded a gold medal. It was cast in bronze in Paris and, in 1912, was erected in front of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Dallin respected the Native American; his series is a tragic tale, sympathetically told. In Appeal to the Great Spirit, the noble Ute warrior—after the attempt at peaceful coexistence failed and after defeat in battle—casts his eyes to the heavens and raises his arms in supplication to the Great Spirit to save his people and their way of life from extinction. There is a strong, bold naturalism in the rendering of the muscular, nearly nude figure of the solemn chieftain. He sits upon a pony of exactly the same type photographed during John Wesley Powell’s exploring expedition through Ute territory in 1873–74. The authenticity of details such as the horse and warbonnet has been verified by ethnologists who have studied the history of the Ute peoples.

Dallin’s contract with the MFA gave him the right to make and sell reproductions of Appeal so long as they did not exceed thirty inches in height. In 1916 Dallin completed a contract with Gorham Manufacturing Company of Providence, Rhode Island, to make bronze replicas in three sizes. The casting is of an especially fine quality and has a rich brown patina. The date “1913,” inscribed on the base, refers to the year in which Dallin modeled the original of this size; this version, number 82/750, was probably cast within a few years of the date Dallin entered into the contract with the Gorham foundry, about 1916–20. The bronze is mounted to an original bespoke wooden base. This noble statue will make an outstanding addition to any collection!

CONDITION: The statue presents well and is in excellent antique condition, with very minor display wear and patina. The wood base has minimal wear. Please review all photos.

DIMENSIONS: 9.5″ in height, 9.5″ in length, 3.5″ in depth


Additional information

Weight 8 lbs
Dimensions 12 × 12 × 12 in

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