The Power Of Art
For more than 125 years George Blackall Simonds’ elegant bronze sculpture, The Falconer, has stood at the apex of a natural rock cropping in Central Park southeast of Strawberry Fields. Simonds (1843-1929), born in Reading, England, was trained in lost-wax casting in Italy. In 1884 Simonds helped found in London the Art Workers Guild, a unified forum for architects, artists and craftsmen. He was also an avid falconer, and chairman of his family brewery. The original sculpture was cast in Florence, and created for Trieste, Italy, and was shown to acclaim at the Royal Academy. This full-sized replica was dedicated on May 31, 1875, and sits gracefully within this artful landscape.
Recently Parks received a communication from Dr. Miriam Kotsonis, which demonstrated the enduring power of this sculpture:
“Sharing a poignant story about The Falconer. My daughter and I were on the wrong path cutting across the Park and came across this statue. Our hearts and minds were focused on a dear friend, gravely ill. Through a drizzle on 12/31 at about noon, the clouds parted for a moment and we snapped a lovely photo of the shining statue with the bird, caught at the moment of release, looking absolutely real next to the branches, against the sun. This was the moment, we learned later, that our friend left us. The photo has given much comfort to the family.”
In a follow up to this letter, Dr. Kotsonis commented, “It's so important that people should see the value of our parks and public art, which enriches our lives in so many ways. Touch points of beauty are vital in everyday living. I've attached the photo we took…showing how lifelike the falcon was at that moment.”
The day before receiving Dr. Kotsonis’ letter I received a greeting card from Bob Simonds, a mid-westerner who is a descendant of George, and with whom I have corresponded over the years. Sharing the letter with him, he responded: “Thank you for sharing the touching letter from the visitor who so eloquently expressed a strong reaction to The Falconer. If one of the purposes of art is to evoke emotion, I'd say that once again George Blackall Simonds' masterpiece meets that criterion. The Falconer mystique continues!”
We could not have said it better ourselves.
Submitted by Jonathan Kuhn, Director, Art & Antiquities
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”
(1882 – 1941)