Location: Central Park South and Sixth Avenue
Artist/Designer: Sally James Farnham
Materials: Bronze, polished black granite
Funding: Government of Venezuela
This Park entrance, known as Artists’ Gate, is home to statues of three Latin American heroes. The first statue to be placed here was that of Simon Bolivar (1783-1830). Bolivar helped to liberate Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Panama from Spanish rule.
In 1916 the Venezuelan government held a contest to select an artist to commemorate their liberator. Sally James Farnham won the commission. Her statue of Bolivar was initially installed on Central Park’s Summit Rock, called Bolivar Hill at the time, in 1921. It was moved to its present location 30 years later.
Farnham was not trained as an artist. A society matron married to a Tiffany and Company designer, Farnham began to model with plasticine while convalescing on bed rest from depression and an undocumented illness. A family friend, the artist Frederic Remington, described her early works as “ugly as sin.” That did not deter her. Farnham went on to receive critical acclaim throughout her professional career.
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