The Revolutionary Soldier (1942)

by Erwin F. Frey (1892 - 1967)

Photo Caption: Photo Caitlin Martin for the Association for Public Art
South Terrace of Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial (north of Boathouse Row on Kelly Drive)
1942

  • Title

    The Revolutionary Soldier

  • Artist

    Erwin F. Frey (1892 - 1967)

  • Year

    1942

  • Medium

    Limestone, on granite base

  • Dimensions

    Height 8’4″, width 2'8", depth 3'8" (bases height 4’8″ & 4’6″, width 3', depth 3')

  • Themes

    The American Revolution

Commissioned by the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art), bequest of Ellen Phillips Samuel

Owned by the City of Philadelphia


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At A Glance

  • Part of the Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO program

  • Commissioned for the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial

  • One of two figures by Erwin Frey that are located in the South Terrace of the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial

  • The subject represents the United State’s military might, respectably dressed and of a serious, resolute demeanor

Military might and political intelligence, twin necessities of the new republic, are the subject of Erwin Frey’s two figures: The Revolutionary Soldier and The Statesman. Frey was a professor at Ohio State University who had worked as an assistant to August Saint-Gaudens and Herbert Adams. Although the Fairmount Park Art Association’s (now the Association for Public Art) Samuel Memorial committee suggested that the revolutionary soldier be “the tattered veteran of a Valley Forge winter,” Frey’s figure is respectably dressed and of a serious, resolute demeanor matching the statesman’s.

South Terrace of the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial
The South Terrace of the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial. Photo Caitlin Martin © 2010 for the Association for Public Art.

The South Terrace of the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial

After the second Sculpture International in 1940, the committee selected four sculptors to express the governing themes of the new South Terrace – the settlement of the eastern coast and the emergence of the United States as an independent, democratic nation. The two principal groups were carved as reliefs, the other four sculptures as free-standing figures.

Sculptures in the South Terrace:

Adapted from Public Art in Philadelphia by Penny Balkin Bach (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1992).

Museum Without Walls logo: a program of the Association for Public Art

 

Voices heard in the program:

Penny Balkin Bach is Executive Director of the Association for Public Art (formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association) and the author of many books and articles about Philadelphia’s public art.

Kathleen A. Foster is Robert L. McNeil, Jr., Senior Curator of American Art and Director of the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Michael W. Zuckerman is Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and specializes in American Studies. He served on the Consultant Board for PBS “History Detectives” and is the Museum Without Walls Consulting Historian.

Segment Producer: Amanda Aronczyk and Ave Carrillo

A program of the Association for Public Art (formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association), Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO is an innovative and accessible outdoor sculpture audio program for Philadelphia’s preeminent collection of public art.

User calls Museum Without Walls Audio for Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture
Photo Albert Yee © 2010 for the Association for Public Art

A “multi-platform” interactive audio experience – available for free by cell phone, mobile app, audio download, or on the web – Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO offers the unique histories that are not typically expressed on outdoor permanent signage.

Unlike audio tours that have a single authoritative guide or narrator, each speaker featured in Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO is an “authentic voice” – someone who is connected to the sculpture by knowledge, experience, or affiliation. Over 150 unique voices are featured, including artists, educators, scientists, writers, curators, civic leaders, and historians.

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