At A Glance
Part of the Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO program
The Inquirer initiated a public subscription to erect a memorial to McKinley following his assassination
The Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art) coordinated the project
McKinley is shown delivering a speech with a symbolic figure of wisdom instructing a youth below him
Following the assassination of President William McKinley on September 14, 1901, the Philadelphia Inquirer initiated a public subscription to erect a proper memorial. McKinley himself was associated with the city’s monuments having dedicated the Washington and Grant memorials.
McKinley, who was known for his tariff and currency policies, is depicted in a characteristic pose in the midst of delivering a speech.
The Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art) was asked to coordinate the project and initiated a design competition. Of the thirty-eight models that were submitted for consideration, that of Charles Albert Lopez was chosen.
Born in Metamora, Mexico, Charles Lopez studied with John Quincy Adams in New York City, and later at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Lopez showed great promise when he was awarded the McKinley commission, but he died unexpectedly, soon after completing the working models for the sculpture. The executors of the fund and and the Committee on Design selected Isidore Konti, an artist born in Vienna and known for his decorative monumental work, to complete the memorial.
McKinley, who was known for his tariff and currency policies, is depicted in a characteristic pose in the midst of delivering a speech. Below him sits a symbolic figure representing wisdom instructing a youth.
Adapted from Public Art in Philadelphia by Penny Balkin Bach (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1992) and Sculpture of a City: Philadelphia’s Treasures in Bronze and Stone by the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art) (Walker Publishing Co., New York, 1974).
Voices heard in the program:
Lewis L. Gould is Professor Emeritus of American History at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of The Modern American Presidency.
Audrey Flack is a nationally recognized sculptor whose work is included in the collections of major museums around the world. She is an honorary professor at George Washington University and has been a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
Segment Producer: Sarah P. Reynolds
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 Around City Hall tour