Cyrus Dallin


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Sculptor. Known particularly for depictions of American Indians, he also portrayed historical figures and other subjects. Born in Springville, near Provo, Utah, Cyrus Edwin Dallin as a boy was already familiar with local Indians. In 1880 he went to Boston, where he worked in Truman Bartlett's studio for two years before establishing his own. He had already found some success with Indian themes before 1888, when he departed for two years of additional training in Paris. After his return to the United States, Dallin lived in Utah and Philadelphia. In 1896 he once again headed for Paris to study at the École des Beaux-Arts. Four years later he settled permanently in suburban Boston. During his initial Paris sojourn, Dallin created his first widely acclaimed work, A Signal of Peace (Lincoln Park, Chicago, 1889–90), one of several monumental equestrian Indian subjects. Appealing to the period's fascination with the “Noble Savage,” often thought to be doomed by fate to vanish, it displays Dallin's characteristically dignified and sympathetic approach to aboriginal Americans, as well as his careful attention to ethnographic detail. Another warrior on horseback, Appeal to the Great Spirit (Huntington Avenue entrance, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1909), remains his best-known work. This emotionally affecting figure arches backward to face the sky, his hands extended to either side in a gesture of supplication. His posture implies the vulnerability of a spiritually intact but overwhelmed people.

Subjects: Art.

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