HENRY HERING. MSI. The Columbian Exposition Fine Arts Building.

History is a matter of simple facts. Henry Hering was born in 1874 and died in 1949. He studied under Augustus Saint Gaudens and Philip Martiny. He is credited with the sculpture at the Fine Arts Building at the Columbian Exposition (now the Museum of Science and Industry), working with Daniel Burnham and Charles Atwood and the "greatest assemblage of artists since the Renaissance."

Now add into the mix that Charles Atwood was most probably an opium addict (with just three more years to live), that Jackson Park was a swamp, and that the entire team was struggling under what seemed an impossible deadline. And, oh, yes, with a little addition and subtraction.... Henry Hering was 17 years old when he started on the work of the originals photographed below.

How does a 17 year old boy produce work with this serenity? How would anybody under those conditions? (Certainly with some guidance from Philip Martiny)  Don't miss the Field Museum Library Photostream at Flickr. Sculpture in this condition doesn't just "happen." It is the result of patient maintenance, restoration, and care. And that remarkable gift of 1919.

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