Monuments and Memorials

Primarily a public artist, Daniel Chester French may be the most viewed sculptor in American history. French’s major works remain on permanent exhibition in public places in twenty-one states, as well as France. French established his working style in the 1870s and 1880s, and he embraced the general shift in public sculpture from educational and moralizing works to those that are expressive and symbolic.

Always concerned with scale and harmony between his work and its base and surroundings, French examined photographic enlargements of his preliminary studies in their proposed locations. For pedestal and site design he sought the services of architects such as Charles Follen McKim and Henry Bacon. French and Bacon had worked together in the late 1890s on the Joseph Hooker equestrian for Beacon Hill. They continued to collaborate for the next twenty-five years on nearly fifty projects, culminating with the design for their architectural and artistic masterpiece, the Lincoln Memorial.

Boston area works executed at French’s Chesterwood studio included the Francis Parkman, Clark, and Melvin Memorials, the Joseph Hooker equestrian statue, and the George Robert White Memorial in Boston’s Public Garden.

Melvin Memorial

Daniel Chester French at Chesterwood by the full-scale model for the Melvin Memorial, 1907.

General Joseph Hooker by Daniel Chester French

General Joseph Hooker, State House, Boston, Massachusetts

George Robert White Memorial

George Robert White Memorial, Public Garden, Boston, Massachusetts.

To Learn More

Explore the public sculptures of Daniel Chester French in situ.

Learn about the process of taking a sculpture from clay to bronze at Skylight Studios in Woburn, Massachusetts.

Discover the poignant background behind Daniel Chester French’s Melvin Memorial.

Background photo credit: Sara Lundberg

Photo credits: Chesterwood; Judy Fichtenbaum; Sara Lundberg