Location: 79th Street, east side
Artist/Designer: Paul Howard Manship, sculptor; Bruce Kelly and David Varnell, architects
Materials: Bronze, granite
Funding: Gift of Samuel N. Friedman
Group of Bears may seem familiar to New Yorkers and tourists who never set foot in this part of the Park. Three renditions of the three bears are located within about five blocks of each other. Just north of the Pat Hoffman Friedman Playground, where this outdoor statue is located, is the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which also has the bears on display. North of the museum, at 84th Street, is Ancient Playground. Atop the southern gatepost there is a smaller version of the sculpture. To see a fourth version, venture to the Bronx Zoo, where the bears, in profile, stand atop the Rainey Memorial Gates.
Manship was a prolific art nouveau sculptor who did most of his work in the 1920s and 1930s. His most famous work is the gilded Prometheus adorning the ice-skating rink at Rockefeller Center. Group of Bears was first sculpted around 1932 for the Bronx Zoo. The model or maquette was used for subsequent castings. The last one was this sculpture in the Friedman Playground, made in 1989 after the artist’s death.
Group of Bears
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