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Zinc Sculpture in America, 1850-1950

Carol A. Grissom

Introduced in the United States as a new material for statuary in the mid-nineteenth century, zinc has properties that allowed replication at low cost. It was used to produce modestly priced serial sculpture displayed throughout the nation on fountains, public monuments, and war memorials. Imitative finishes created the illusion of more costly bronze, stone, or polychrome wood. This first comprehensive overview of American zinc sculpture is interdisciplinary, engaging aspects of art history, popular culture, local history, technology, and art conservation. Included is a generously illustrated catalogue presenting more than eight hundred statues organized by type: trade figures and Indians, gods and goddesses, fountain figures, animals, famous men, military figures, firemen, cemetery memorials, and religious subjects. The compilation of data on these statues will be valuable to scholars, filling the current void in research libraries. The author's experience as a conservator will also make this an essential resource for historic preservationists seeking to repair statues now damaged by years of outdoor exposure. « less more »
University Press Copublishing Division / University of Delaware Press
Pages: 706Size: 9 x 11 1/2
978-1-61149-096-1 • Hardback • March 2009 • $137.00 • (£90.00)
Carol Grissom is senior objects conservator at the Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute.
Carol Grissom's book is an enormous accomplishment, and it is clearly now the standard reference on American zinc sculpture. The 554 illustrations are of good quality, mostly photographs (350 in color), including many fascinating period photographs of foundries and pieces long gone. Her writing is precise, yet easily read without the burden of academic jargon....This book will be very useful, indeed indispensable, for anyone seriously interested in zinc sculpture.
Maine Antique Digest

This absorbing monograph...is not only an encyclopedic source of technical information, it is also a fascinating cultural history as well.
Industrial Archeology