of sculptor Cyrus Dallin’s most famous statues has been lost?
Cyrus Dallin, the sculptor of “The Boy and His Dog” in
Lincoln’s cemetery, is best known for a set of four statues of Native Americans
called “The Epic of the Indian.”The
fourth and most famous in the series, “Appeal to the Great Spirit,” stands at
the entrance of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.
Lost forever is Dallin’s “Protest of the Sioux,” which was
created for the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904.Dallin’s Native American statues have been criticized recently as
“stereotypical imagery” of Native Americans by white artists.Dallin was a vigorous advocate of Native
American rights, and when his series of four statues were displayed, they would
have been controversial for a very different reason.When Dallin’s “Protest of the Sioux” was
displayed in 1904, the U.S. Army was still waging war against Native American
tribes in the Southwest.Dallin’s statue
of a Sioux warrior on horseback, with fist raised in defiance against the loss
of Sioux lands and way of life, must have seemed to some visitors at the
World’s Fair as siding with the enemy.As one newspaper correspondent put it, “The North American Indian will
make his last stand at the World’s Fair.”
Dallin’s “Protest of the Sioux” was monumental.On its pedestal, it stood forty feet
high.But it was made of a perishable
artificial stone, not cast in bronze like all of Dallin’s other work.After the World’s Fair, it was moved to a
park in St. Louis, and reportedly one night the statue “crumbled into a heap of
dust.”A cast bronze replica, only 21
inches tall, survives in a museum in Utah.
Fortunately, Dallin’s sculpture of The Boy and His Dog” in
Lincoln’s cemetery is made of durable cast bronze. To hear more about Cyrus Dallin and “The Boy
and His Dog,” join the Zoom webinar with Nancy Blanton of the Cyrus Dallin Art
Museum, Monday, January 11th, at Noon.
The presentation is cosponsored by the Lincoln Council on Aging’s Lincoln
Academy, the Lincoln Historical Society, the Lincoln Cemetery Commission, and
the Lincoln Town Archives.