Paul Howard Manship (1885 – 1966) – American Sculptor

Paul Howard Manship (1885 – 1966) was an American Sculptor. He was influenced by Hindu and Buddhist Indian Sculpture.

He began his artistic education at the St. Paul School of Art in Minnesota, and he attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts before moving onto New York City’s Art Student League. Throughout his subsequent career, he created more than 700 sculptural pieces in stone and marble.

From 1909 to 1912, Manship studied at the American Academy in Rome, and during this time, he became particularly interested in classical art – particularly that of Greece, India and Egypt. Manship’s sculpture tended to reflect this interest in classicism, and modernists admired Manship’s use of simplified lines while cultural conservatives liked his reference to traditional idioms.

Grace Rainey Rogers commissioned him to produce the 1934 Paul J. Rainey memorial gateway of the New York Zoological Park, Bronx Zoo. To complete the commission he worked with five assistants in Paris and New York for five years. Manship worked in a refined streamlined style. He achieved great success in the creation of public monuments. He was well known for the gilded-bronze Prometheus (1933) at Rockefeller Center Plaza, New York.

Rainey Memorial Gates at the entrance to the Bronx Zoo designed by Paul Howard Manship
Rainey Memorial Gates at the entrance to the Bronx Zoo designed by Paul Howard Manship

Manship’s work attempts to bridge the gap between classical and modern art, but by the 1940s, his work had fallen from favour with the avant-garde, who was not charmed by the his “archaic style” and thought it obsolete. Manship was not primarily a portraitist, but he did make busts of notables such as Theodore Roosevelt and John D. Rockefeller.

A selection of his work

Lehman Gates in Central Park sculpture designed by Paul Howard Manship
Lehman Gates in Central Park sculpture designed by Paul Howard Manship
Playfulness – 1912 in Bronze designed by Paul Howard Manship
Playfulness – 1912 in Bronze designed by Paul Howard Manship

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

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