This bronze bust of Austrian Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) was created by the German-American sculptor Augustus Max Johannes Mueller. Dedicated in 1897 in the Concert Grove, the statue is one of seven in the immediate vicinity, including four portraits of composers.
Born in Salzburg, Austria, Mozart demonstrated remarkable musical ability as a young child, especially on the harpsichord and as a composer. As a child prodigy, he toured with his father, and his first works were published in Paris and London in the early 1760s. He returned to Salzburg in 1766 to study counterpoint with his father. Mozart then moved to Vienna, where he accepted an imperial commission in 1769 to compose and conduct an opera (La Finta Simplice). The same year he received an honorary appointment as concertmaster to the archbishop of Salzburg. After a two-year tour and a brief second sojourn in Italy, Mozart settled in Vienna as a teacher and composer, living in virtual poverty despite his position as the royal chamber composer to Emperor Joseph II (1741-1790) of Austria.
Long in poor health, Mozart was at work on his Requiem when he died on December 5, 1791. During his short life he composed over 600 works in virtually every musical form, creating an oeuvre perhaps unmatched in its splendor and diversity. Among his best-known works are the operas Don Giovanni (1787) and The Magic Flute (1791).
The Concert Grove possesses a rich collection of bronze sculptural portraits. Three of these, Henry Baerer’s bust of Ludwig van Beethoven (1894), Chester Beach’s Carl Maria Von Weber (1909), and this statue of Mozart, were donated to the City of Brooklyn in 1897 by the United German Singers of Brooklyn. The group won the busts as trophies at the National Saengerfest, a choral competition held in Madison Square. At a cost of $6,000, the group commissioned the architect Kaltwasser to design its granite base and had the work installed in Prospect Park, where it was dedicated on October 23, 1897.
Mueller’s depiction represents Mozart in reverie, dressed in a period high collar and jabot ruffled shirt. In 1997, the sculpture was conserved and the long-missing bronze decorative wreath and lyre on the base recreated by the City Parks Foundation Monuments Conservation Program, with funding from the Florence Gould Foundation.
Mozart Memorial Details
- Location: Concert Grove
- Sculptor: Augustus Max Johannes Mueller
- Architect: Kaltwasser
- Description: Bust (heroic scale) on pedestal decorated with applied wreath
- Materials: Bust and wreath--bronze; Pedestal--granite
- Dimensions: Bust H: 4'6"; Pedestal H: 11' W: 4'5" D: 4'5"; Pedestal decoration Diameter: 2'
- Cast: 1897
- Dedicated: October 23, 1897
- Foundry: Bureau Brothers, Philadelphia
- Donor: United German Singers of Brooklyn
- Inscription: 1) bust: "[signed] A.M.J. MUELLER SCULPTOR PHILADELPHIA, 1897"
2) front: "PRESENTED TO THE / CITY OF BROOKLYN / BY THE UNITED / GERMAN SINGERS / OF THE CITY / FIRST PRIZE AT THE 18TH / NATIONAL SAENGERFEST / HELD AT PHILADELPHIA / JUNE 23RD / 1897"
3) rear: "S.K. SAENGER / PRESIDENT / ARTHUR CLASSEN / CONDUCTOR"
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The Prospect Park Well House is under reconstruction in order to build a new composting latrine. The park remains open while the building gets reconstructed.
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