Daniel Chester French was approached in 1897 to create a memorial monument for Asa, John and Samuel Melvin, three brothers who died in the Civil War. Their surviving brother, James C. Melvin, commissioned the memorial.
The Melvin Memorial was created by French in 1906-1908 and it was installed in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts. See my Daniel Chester French: The "Melvin Memorial" page for images of the "Melvin Memorial" in situ.
In 1912, the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (French himself was a trustee of the Museum), approached French about his making a copy of the Melvin Memorial for the Museum. French worked on the new monument, called "Mourning Victory" from 1912-1915 at which time it was given to the Museum. In 2009, the Museum's copy of the Melvin Memorial, which had been located on the second floor balcony overlooking the American Wing courtyard, was moved to the first floor of the newly renovated American Wing.
The sculpture depicts an image of "Victory" emerging from the marble, eyes downcast, hair billowing and draped in an American flag (stars are visible at the top and sides. It is one of French's most dramatic works of art and combines grief with triumph, commemorating the noble sacrifice of the three Melvin brothers.
All photos below were taken by Douglas Yeo, October, 2009.
|Daniel Chester French's "Mourning Victory," in situ as it is displayed in the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Click HERE to download a higher resolution image of this photo.
|A view of the upper torso of Daniel Chester French's, "Mourning Victory."
|A close up view of the head and arms, showing detail of the laurel branch, of Daniel Chester French's, "Mourning Victory."
|A close up view of the head, showing the billowing hair and half-closed eyes, of Daniel Chester French's, "Mourning Victory."
|A view of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's American Wing (2009), showing three marble sculptures by Daniel Chester French: "Memory" (far left), "Mourning Victory" (left), "The Angel of Death and the Sculptor" (right).
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