Daniel Chester French was born April 20, 1850 in Exeter, New Hampshire.
At the age of 17, French moved with his family to Concord, Massachusetts, where he became a neighbor and friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
After attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a year, French went back home to work on his father’s farm.
Then, while visiting relatives in Brooklyn, New York City, he became interested in sculpting and spent a month in the studio of John Quincy Adams Ward.
French then traveled to Florence, Italy, spending a year studying and working with sculptor Thomas Ball.
The Minute Man
Back in America, French began to work on commission, and at the young age of of 23 received an order from the town of Concord, Massachusetts for a statue.
On April 19, 1875, his well-known statue titled “The Minute Man” was unveiled on the centenary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord.
In 1884, he completed the John Harvard monument, Harvard Yard in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
After these successes, French received commissions for more notable public monuments.
In 1893, French became a founding member of the National Sculpture Society, and he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
French also became a member of the National Academy of Design in 1901, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Architectural League, and the Accademia di San Luca, of Rome.
French was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1913.
In 1917, French designed the Pulitzer Prize gold medal presented to laureates.
Seated Abraham Lincoln for Lincoln Memorial
Daniel Chester French’s best-known sculpture is Abraham Lincoln seated in the Lincoln Memorial (constructed 1914–22), on the National Mall, Washington, D.C., USA
Daniel Chester French died October 7, 1931 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts at the age of 81 and was buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord, Massachusetts.
In 1940, French was selected as one of five artists to be honored in the 35-stamp “Famous Americans” series.
Now WE know em