Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

Pioneer Woman

modeled 1927, cast 1968 Bryant Baker Born: London, England 1881 Died: New York, New York 1970 Roman Bronze Works, Inc. (Founder) bronze 32 x 15 x 16 1/8 in. (81.3 x 38.1 x 41.1 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the artist 1968.126 Not currently on view


Luce Center Quote

"It is undoubtedly one of the most insouciant, sincere and human plastic presentations of the century." Kineton Parkes, quoted in "An Anglo-American Sculptor," Apollo: A Journal of the Arts, October 1932

Luce Center Label

In 1926, Bryant Baker won a competition to sculpt a seventeen-foot-high bronze monument in Ponca City, Oklahoma. He crafted this smaller version of Pioneer Woman before unveiling the monument on April 22, 1930, to a crowd that included President Herbert Hoover, humorist Will Rogers, and oil magnate E. W. Marland, who had funded the project. The monument's plaque stated that Baker created it "in appreciation of the heroic character of the women who braved the dangers and endured the hardships incident to the daily life of the pioneer and homesteader in this country." According to the sculptor, the boy personifies the future of the American West and the woman's bundle symbolizes the burden of life. The book under her right arm is the Bible, which Baker believed was "a vital factor in building up this country" ("Bryant Baker, Sculptor, Dies; Executed Busts of 5 Presidents," New York Times, March 31, 1970).

Keywords

Dress - historic - pioneer dress

Figure group - female and child

History - United States - westward expansion

Recreation - leisure - strolling

sculpture

metal - bronze