The Slave (1940)

by Helene Sardeau (1899 - 1968)

Photo Caption: Photo Alec Rogers © 2014 for the Association for Public Art
Central Terrace of Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial (north of Boathouse Row on Kelly Drive)
1940

  • Title

    The Slave

  • Artist

    Helene Sardeau (1899 - 1968)

  • Year

    1940

  • Medium

    Limestone, on limestone base

  • Dimensions

    Height 5’5″, width 3'11", depth 3'11" (base height 5’6″, width 3'11", depth 3'11")

  • Themes

    African American Themes, Women and Public Art

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

To accompany Maurice Sterne’s Welcoming to Freedom in the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial‘s Central Terrace, the Fairmount Park Art Association’s (now the Association for Public Art) Samuel Memorial committee chose to commission a figure of an unshackled slave. “Spiritually,” the committee wrote, “there is an association between the freeing of the slaves and the welcoming [of immigrants] to our shores.” Opposite The Slave is Heinz Warneke’s representation of The Immigrant. Sculptor Helene Sardeau, born in Belgium, emigrated to the United States as a child. She collaborated on murals and reliefs in Mexico City and Rio de Janiero with her husband, painter George Biddle.

Central Terrace of the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial on Kelly Drive
The Central Terrace of the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial. Photo Caitlin Martin © 2010 for the Association for Public Art.

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:

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

 

RESOURCES:

Museum Without Walls logo: a program of the Association for Public Art

 

Voices heard in the program:

Penny Balkin Bach is 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.

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Photo Albert Yee © 2010 for the Association for 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.

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