DescriptionHenry Merwin Shrady (1871-1922)
Monarch of the Plains, 1899
Bronze with brown patina
13-1/2 inches (34.3 cm) high
Inscribed on base: Henry Merwin Shrady / Copyright 1899 / Theodore B. Starr
Private collection, New York, by 1967;
By descent to the present owner, 2008.
L. Taft, The History of American Sculpture, New York, 1924, pp. 483-84;
P.J. Broder, Bronzes of the American West, New York, 1974, pp. 241-43, pl. 360, another example illustrated.
A self-taught artist, Henry Merwin Shrady ranks among the most important wildlife sculptors in America. With a tremendous understanding of anatomy and clay modeling that he inherited from his father, Shrady abandoned his studies in law and turned his attention toward sketching. He often made trips to the Bronx Zoo, in New York completing various studies of animals, several of which would influence his most iconic sculptures, Monarch of the Plains (Elk Buffalo), executed in 1899, and Bull Moose in 1900. These sketches caught the attention of Theodore B. Starr, an entrepreneur and jeweler, who commissioned and copyrighted bronzes to sell out of his shop. According to the National Gallery of Art, "these were some of the very first American bronzes to be cast by the lost wax method, pioneered in the United States by Riccardo Bertelli at his new firm of Roman Bronze Works in Brooklyn in the late 1880s." Frederic Remington, friend and admirer of Shrady's work, purchased Monarch of the Plains and noted in his diary, "'Buffalo'... best art object I have." (September 29, 1908) Shrady's worked garnered so much attention that he was commissioned to create monumental scale models of Bull Moose and Monarch of the Plains in plaster for the Pan-American Exposition in 1901. In 1902, he was awarded a $250,000 commission to work on the Grant Memorial in Washington, D.C., which took him 20 years to complete. Sadly, Shrady died two weeks prior to the public unveiling of the sculpture, leaving behind his legacy and monumental gift to America.
More information about Shrady, Henry Merwin, also known as Shrady, Henry, Henry Mervin Shrady.
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