At A Glance
Part of the Museum Without Walls: AUDIO program
Commissioned for the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial
The Ploughman represents the American pioneers who journeyed west in search of new land to settle
Artist J. Wallace Kelly was a Philadelphia native who taught at Haverford College and other local schools
The Fairmount Park Art Association’s (now the Association for Public Art) Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial committee sought to commission a work that would represent those American pioneers who journeyed west in search of new land to settle. “Land and gold,” the committee wrote, “were probably the most basic urges that propelled Americans westward across the continent.” The committee asked artist J. Wallace Kelly, a Philadelphia native who taught at Haverford College and other local schools, to create The Ploughman. The sculpture is a dignified celebration of human labor, and sits opposite John B. Flannagan’s The Miner in the Central Terrace of the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial.
The Central Terrace of the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial
Construction of the Samuel Memorial began with the Central Terrace. Six sculptors were commissioned to create two large bronze monuments and four complementary figures in limestone. These works express the twin themes of America’s westward expansion and the new nation’s welcome to immigrants from other lands.
Sculptures in the Central Terrace:
- Spanning the Continent, Robert Laurent
- Welcoming to Freedom, Maurice Sterne
- The Ploughman, J. Wallace Kelly
- The Miner, John B. Flannagan
- The Slave, Hélène Sardeau
- The Immigrant, Heinz Warneke
- The Spirit of Enterprise, Jacques Lipchitz
Adapted from Public Art in Philadelphia by Penny Balkin Bach (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1992).
Voices heard in the program:
Penny Balkin Bach is the former Executive Director & Chief Curator 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 Taylor is the former Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the author of Jacques Lipchitz and Philadelphia.
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.
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.