Location: 85th Street, east side
Artist/Designer: Paul Manship, sculptor; Aymar Embury II, architect
Materials: Bronze, Minnesota mahogany, Cold Springs granite
Funding: William Church Osborn Memorial Committee
The beautiful Osborn Gates at the entrance of the Ancient Playground depict five of Aesop’s fables. The two granite piers holding the bronze sculptured gates are each topped with groups of small animals. The south gate has the fox and the crow as well as the hare and the tortoise; the north gate has three sculptural groupings: the crane and the peacock, the lamb and the wolf, and the city mouse and the country mouse. Declared by the Municipal Art Society as one of the most important pieces in Central Park when installed in 1953, the Osborn gates reflect Parks Commissioner Robert Moses’ goal to include fanciful statuary in parks. Suffering from vandalism and neglect, the gates were put into storage for almost 30 years until the Central Park Conservancy restored them in 2009.
The donor, William Church Osborn (1862-1951), spent much of his life serving philanthropic interests. He was president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Children’s Aid Society. Paul Manship is best known for his sculpture Prometheus in Rockefeller Plaza.
Click on the photo to enlarge