Alexander Milne Calder
Calder with the head of his statue of William Penn, Philadelphia, 1894
|Died||June 4, 1923 (aged 76)|
|Education||Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts|
Alexander Milne Calder (August 23, 1846 - June 4, 1923) (MILL-nee) was a Scottish American sculptor best known for the architectural sculpture of Philadelphia City Hall. Both his son, Alexander Stirling Calder, and grandson, Alexander "Sandy" Calder, became significant sculptors in the 20th century.
Alexander Milne Calder was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, the son of a tombstone carver. He began his career in Scotland, working for sculptor John Rhind, the father of sculptor J. Massey Rhind while attending the Royal Academy in Edinburgh. He moved to London and worked on the Albert Memorial. Calder emigrated to the United States in 1868 and settled in Philadelphia, where he studied with Joseph A. Bailly, and took classes (as would his son Alexander Stirling Calder) with Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
In 1873, he was hired by architect John McArthur, Jr., to produce models for the sculptures adorning Philadelphia City Hall. The commission required more than 250 marble and bronze pieces and took Calder twenty years to complete. That same year, Calder was commissioned by the forerunner of Philadelphia's current Association for Public Art, the Fairmount Park Art Association, to create an equestrian statue of Major General George Gordon Meade for Fairmount Park. Then in 1875, he won the competition for the colossal (37 foot tall) bronze statue of William Penn that was to crown the new City Hall's tower. That portrait sculpture remains to this day the largest atop any building in the world.
William Warner Tomb, Laurel Hill Cemetery (1889).
73rd Pennsylvania Infantry monument, Gettysburg Battlefield. 1889
Indian Figure, prior to installation on City Hall, c. 1892.
William Penn (1894), atop City Hall.