- FRENCH, Daniel Chester, sculptor, was born in Exeter, N.H., April 20, 1850; son of Henry Flagg and Anne (Richardson) French; and grandson of Daniel and Sarah (Flagg) French and of William M. and Betsy (Smith) Richardson. His paternal grandfather was attorney-general of New Hampshire and his maternal grandfather was chief-justice of the same state. He removed to Cambridge, Mass., in 1860, to Amherst in 1865 and to Concord in 1867. He early became a practical ornithologist. In 1867 he studied in the Massachusetts institute of technology. At the age of eighteen he carved from a turnip a grotesque figure of a frog in clothes, which attracted the admiration of Miss May Alcott, then a drawing teacher in Boston. She loaned him her modelling tools and from that time he devoted his life to sculpture, first attending Dr. William Rimmer's artistic anatomy classes. In 1870 he made his first exhibition, a bas-relief of his sister, [p.193] which received favorable comment from the press of Chicago, Ill., where it was executed and exhibited. His first important order, received in 1873, was the "Minute Man," unveiled at Concord, Mass., April 19, 1875, for which he was paid $1000. He then worked a year in Florence, Italy, under Thomas Ball, and while there made his ideal figure of "Sleeping Endymion." He was next engaged upon colossal ideal figures for public buildings in St. Louis, Mo., Philadelphia, Pa., and Boston, Mass., and later made brief visits, for study, in Paris. In 1879 he modelled, from life, the bust of Emerson for Harvard Memorial hall and later that of Alcott for the Concord library. In 1892 he completed the high relief "Death and the Sculptor," erected as a monument to Martin Milmore in Forest Hills cemetery, for which he was awarded a medal from the Paris salon. He produced the statue of General Cass for the capitol at Washington; that of Thomas Starr King for San Francisco, Cal.; the ideal figure of John Harvard for the university grounds, unveiled Oct. 15, 1885, and many busts, statues and casts placed in public buildings throughout the United States. For the World's Columbian exposition at Chicago, in 1893, he made the colossal statue of the Republic and other works. His later commissions include: an equestrian statue of General Grant for Fairmount park, Philadelphia, Pa., 1898; statues of History and of Herodotus, for the Congressional library at Washington; a full-length statue of Rufus Choate for the city of Boston, unveiled in October, 1898; the Gallaudet statue for the Columbian institution for the deaf and dumb, Washington; the John Boyle O'Reilly statue, dedicated in Boston in August, 1896; the Richard M. Hunt memorial, Central park, New York; three pairs of bronze doors for the entrance of the Boston public library; and a statue of Washington for the Paris exposition in 1900. Dartmouth conferred upon him the honorary degree of A.M. in 1898. He was elected a member of the Academia of San Luca in 1899, being the first American to receive that honor.
famous artist