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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Sculpture: Medals: Albert Gallatin Portrait Medal
Paul Manship

Paul Manship

(born St. Paul, MN 1885 -- died New York City 1966)

“The magnitude of artistic inspiration in the forms and moods of nature is infinite. The possibility of realizing it in sculpture has endless approaches.” Paul Manship, 1966

Paul Manship turned his attention from painting to sculpture after discovering that he was color-blind. As a teenager, he devoted so much time to sculpting that he neglected his studies and dropped out of school. Manship’s early work was influenced by Rodin’s expressive style, but when the younger artist was awarded a three-year internship at the American Academy in Rome, he had the opportunity to study Greek and Roman art firsthand. He fell in love with archaic Greek sculpture, and also studied Egyptian, Asian, and Assyrian art. The sculptures that Manship created from this point were unusual because they were very stylized but still representational. The artist’s work was hugely popular upon his return from Rome, and he sold all ninety-six pieces from his first show in New York. Manship worked on a number of monumental projects, and became an influential sculptor in America. Artists openly borrowed and applied his style in many media, especially in illustration. By the end of his career, Manship had produced more than seven hundred works and won many prestigious medals. One of his most famous pieces is the fountain sculpture Prometheus at Rockefeller Center in New York City.


Image Credits: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution