The Great Mother and The Great Doctor (1955)

by Waldemar Raemisch (1888 - 1955)

Photo Caption: Photo Alec Rogers © 2014 for the Association for Public Art
  • Title

    The Great Mother and The Great Doctor

  • Artist

    Waldemar Raemisch (1888 - 1955)

  • Year

    1955; installed 1956; relocated 2008

  • Location

    School of the Future, 4021 Parkside Avenue, West Fairmount Park

  • Medium

    Bronze, on concrete bases

  • Dimensions

    Maximum height 11’4″; width of each group approximately 20′; depth 6'6" (bases 3′)

  • Themes

    Women and Public Art

Commissioned by the City of Philadelphia, Department of Public Property

Owned by the City of Philadelphia

At A Glance

  • Originally commissioned for the Youth Study Center, a juvenile detention facility

  • The central figures symbolize a universal Mother and a Doctor—allegorical expressions of the care, comfort, and guidance that adults can offer to children

  • The sculptures were moved to the School of the Future in West Fairmount Park in 2008

Created by Waldemar Raemisch to represent the “spirit of juveniles,” The Great Mother and The Great Doctor were originally commissioned for the Youth Study Center, a juvenile detention facility. The sculptures were moved to the School of the Future in West Fairmount Park in August 2008.

The Great Mother and The Great Doctor
Photo Alec Rogers © 2014 for the Association for Public Art

In each of the two groups a seated, central figure is surrounded by idealized compositions of children and attending adults. The central figures symbolize a universal Mother and a Doctor or Healer, respectively – allegorical expressions of the care, comfort, and guidance that adults can offer to children. From a distance each group blends into a whole, almost as if the figures were carved in relief on the building itself. Raemisch also created The Preacher for the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial.

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

 

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