African Elephant Scenting Danger

  • Eli Harvey, African Elephant Scenting Danger, after 1926, bronze, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 1948.9.1

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Wild animals were Eli Harvey’s favorite subject matter. The elephant that “sat” for African Elephant Scenting Danger had been driven mad from seeing his mate killed, and he became very agitated as Harvey modeled him. At one point, he nearly upset Harvey’s modeling stand by grabbing the leg and shaking it with his trunk. The finished sculpture shows the elephant in his most defensive stance. As he anticipates an attack, he raises his trunk to smell the air and tries to locate his enemy.

Luce Object Quote

“I must choose the most essential truth to be presented, which gives . . . the most agreeable lines as a work in sculpture. I chose for this elephant the attitude when scenting danger.” Eli Harvey, Eli Harvey: Quaker Sculptor from Ohio, 1966

African Elephant Scenting Danger
after 1926
On View
31 5/8 x 28 3/4 x 8 1/4 in. (80.2 x 72.9 x 20.8 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of the artist

Mediums Description
  • Animal – elephant
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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