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Morningside Park

Alfred Lincoln Seligman Fountain map_it

History

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.
This striking bronze sculpture by Edgar Walter (1877-1938) is also known as Bear and Faun.  It was dedicated in 1914 in memory of Alfred L. Seligman (1864-1910), vice-president of the National Highways Protective Association.  Ironically, Mr. Seligman was killed in an automobile accident in 1910.

For his years of public service in a relatively brief lifespan, friends of Seligman commissioned this sculpture at a cost of $2,000, and gave it to the City as a gift to its children.   At the dedication ceremony on May 17, 1914 Parks Commissioner Cabot Ward and Frederic R. Coudert, president of the National Highways Protective Association, delivered addresses.

In his speech, turning over the work of art to the City, Coudert commented, “Alfred Lincoln Seligman sought not for fame, but in his comparatively short life he devoted much of his time to the young people of the City, in offering them opportunity for instruction in the art of music.  It is because of his attitude toward the children and his work for their safety, health and happiness that this monument to his memory is peculiarly appropriate.”

About seven feet in height, the fountain depicts a bear overhanging a grotto in which a small faun (half man, half goat) plays on the pipes.  The picturesque fountain, with a drinking apparatus for humans, and a basin for dogs to drink from, is situated at the foot of a staircase on the eastern edge of the park near the 114th Street entrance.

Walter, the sculptor, was born in San Francisco, California in 1877.  He studied at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in that city, and later in Paris, France, where he was a pupil of the famous Auguste Rodin (1840-1917).  In 1997, the sculptures were conserved by the City Parks Foundation Monuments Conservation Program, with funding from the Florence Gould Foundation.

Alfred Lincoln Seligman Fountain Details

  • Sculptor: Edgar Walter
  • Description: Bear on rock with faun sheltering below, and adjacent plaque
  • Materials: Bronze
  • Dimensions: H: 8'
  • Cast: ca. 1914
  • Dedicated: 1914
  • Foundry: Roman Bronze Works
  • Donor: Alfred Lincoln Seligman and National Highwys Protective Association

Please note, the NAME field includes a primary designation as well as alternate namings often in common or popular usage. The DEDICATED field refers to the most recent dedication, most often, but not necessarily the original dedication date. If the monument did not have a formal dedication, the year listed reflects the date of installation.

For more information, please contact Art & Antiquities at (212) 360-8143

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