Bear and Cub (1957)

by Joseph J. Greenberg, Jr. (1915-1991)

Photo Caption: Photo Caitlin Martin © 2015 for the Association for Public Art
  • Title

    Bear and Cub

  • Artist

    Joseph J. Greenberg, Jr. (1915-1991)

  • Year

    1957

  • Location

    Philadelphia Zoo, near Bear Country (bear pits); zoo admission (fee) required to view this sculpture

  • Medium

    Black Coopersberg granite, on granite base

  • Dimensions

    Height 3'7", width 2'8", depth 5'8 1/2", diameter 4'8" (base height 11")

  • Themes

    The Animal Kingdom

Commissioned by the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art)

Owned by the Philadelphia Zoological Society

At A Glance

  • Please note that zoo admission (fee) is required to view this sculpture

  • Commissioned for the Philadelphia Zoo by the Association for Public Art

  • The first major commission for local sculptor Joseph Greenberg

  • Greenberg helped persuade local officials to establish the city’s landmark percent-for-art program

More approachable than the average bruin, and even more durable, the mother bear and her cub were commissioned for the Philadelphia Zoo by the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art). These supple forms in black granite represented the first major commission for local sculptor Joseph Greenberg.

Born in Philadelphia, Greenberg studied at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art with Raphael Sabatini. After a stay in Italy in the early 1950s, he returned to Philadelphia, where he began to experiment with works in fiberglass and reinforced plastic.

Bear and Cub sculpture at the Philadelphia Zoo
Photo Caitlin Martin © 2015 for the Association for Public Art

As Bear and Cub attests, Greenberg was equally skilled in more traditional media. He also created a limestone gorilla, chimpanzee, and orangutan for the Zoo, and his sculptures appear in schools, recreation centers, and other public and private sites throughout Philadelphia. He helped persuade local officials to establish the city’s landmark percent-for-art program.

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

 

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