• Christian Petersen, Polich Art Works, Cornhusker, modeled 1941, cast 2001, bronze, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the University Museums, Iowa State University, in honor of Christian Petersen, 2001.31

Luce Center Label

In 1940, Christian Petersen attended the Story County, Iowa, cornhusking contest, where he saw Marion Link husk an incredible seventy ears of corn in one minute. Petersen was so impressed with the twenty-four-year-old farmer that he immediately went home and made the first model for his sculpture Cornhusker. Link went on to win the Iowa State championship, cleaning more than three thousand pounds of corn in eighty minutes. He later placed second in the national championship with "probably the largest single crowd . . . ever assembled for any one event in the state of Iowa," reported the Des Moines Register. Petersen depicted the farmer as a heroic, strapping man because, for him, Link represented the health and virility of the nation. Petersen believed that the contests exemplified the courage of midwesterners who dealt with the hardships of farming during the Great Depression.

Luce Object Quote
"It'll be OK to make a statue of me as long as it doesn't look like me." Marion Link, model for Petersen's Cornhusker, quoted in Fuson, "Smithsonian to exhibit Petersen sculpture," Des Moines Register, March 25, 2001
modeled 1941, cast 2001
overall: 41 7/8 x 15 1/4 x 25 3/8 in. (106.5 x 38.7 x 64.5 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of the University Museums, Iowa State University, in honor of Christian Petersen

Mediums Description
  • Figure male – full length
  • Occupation – farm – harvesting
  • Object – vegetable – corn
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More Artworks from the Collection