At A Glance
Part of the Museum Without Walls: AUDIO program
Authorized casts from a group of originals at Millesgården in Stockholm – the artist’s former home, art museum, and a sculpture garden – purchased in 1968 and installed in 1972 by the Association for Public Art
Milles originally created five of these angels for a private site in Philadelphia, but the plans fell through and the angels were parceled out
The artist’s characteristically slender figures often have a childlike innocence and vulnerability that make them immediately appealing to the public
Three slim angels concentrate raptly on their music as they hover above the grass along Kelly Drive. The work of Swedish-born artist Carl Milles, they are authorized casts of three originals at Millesgården in Stockholm, where they overlook that city’s harbor. Milles’ style combined conservative, pictorial elements with a poetic and popular spirit. His characteristically slender figures often have a childlike innocence and vulnerability that make them immediately appealing to the public.
Milles had originally created five Playing Angels, all intended for a private site in Philadelphia
Milles had originally created five Playing Angels, all intended for a private site in Philadelphia – a nursery or nursery school. When the plans dissolved, one angel went to Kansas City, a second went to Falls Church, Virginia, and the remaining three were incorporated into Millesgården, which authorized casts to be made for the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art) for purchase. The Association purchased the angels in 1968 and installed them at their present site in 1972. Their placement on tall pedestals, similar to those at the Millesgården, was planned by the architectural firm of Bower and Fradley – a design awarded a silver medal by the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Adapted from Public Art in Philadelphia by Penny Balkin Bach (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1992).
Voices heard in the program:
John A. Bower, Jr., FAIA is Emeritus Principal architect at BLT Architects.
Maria Wiberg is the Educational Director at the Millesgården in Stockholm, Sweden.
Segment Producer: Kara Oehler
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.
A “multi-platform” interactive audio experience – available for free by cell phone, mobile app, or on our website – 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.
This artwork is part of the Along Kelly Drive tour