The Revolutionary Soldier (1942)

by Erwin F. Frey (1892 - 1967)

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

    The Revolutionary Soldier

  • Artist

    Erwin F. Frey (1892 - 1967)

  • Year


  • Location

    South Terrace of Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial (north of Boathouse Row on Kelly Drive)

  • 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

  • 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).

Voices heard in the Museum Without Walls: AUDIO 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 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

Museum Without Walls: AUDIO is the Association for Public Art’s award-winning audio program for Philadelphia’s outdoor sculpture. Available for free by phone, mobile app, or online, the program features more than 150 voices from all walks of life – artists, educators, civic leaders, historians, and those with personal connections to the artworks.



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