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Douglas Tilden

Chico, California 1860

Berkeley, California 1935

Active in:

  • San Francisco, California
  • Paris, France

Luce Artist Quote

"The ultimate object of art is to instruct, animate, and ennoble. I beg that you deal tenderly with a gifted pupil . . . for his lot will be to see vividly, feel strongly, and suffer deeply." Douglas Tilden's writings, 1892-1921.

Luce Artist Biography

At the age of five, Douglas Tilden became incurably deaf from a bout of scarlet fever. He graduated from the Institute for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind in Berkeley in 1879 and became a teacher there for the next eight years. The artist's interest in sculpture did not develop until his early twenties, but his immediate talent in creating graceful compositions soon won him an award to study in New York City and Paris. These thirteen months, including five months as a student of Paul-Fran├žois Choppin, also a deaf-mute, comprise Tilden's only formal training in sculpture. He subsequently spent seven years in Paris, visiting museums and galleries and admiring sculptures by Auguste Rodin. Tilden's well-known sculpture The Tired Boxer was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1890 and received an honorable mention, which was the highest prize ever to be awarded to an American sculptor at that time. Tilden is often called the "Father of San Francisco Sculpture" for the large number of commissioned public sculptures that you can still see today.