Alumni Profile: Adolph Weinman A 1891
Adolph Alexander Weinman was born in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1870. Adolph Weinman emigrated to the United States as a ten-year-old with his mother, Katherina. His father, Gustave Weinmann, had already passed away. He went to public schools in New York. At the age of 15, he was working in sculpture as an apprentice to Frederick Kaldenberg, and also attending the Cooper Union Night school. He graduated from the Cooper Union in 1891. He also attended the Art Students League in New York. In 1895 he became assistant director in the studio of Olin H. Warner.
In 1896, Augustus Saint-Gaudens invited Adolph Weinman to become an assistant in his studio. Weinman was also an assistant to German-American sculptor Charles Henry Niehaus. Augustus Saint-Gaudens helped introduce Weinman to the art world, including helping him obtain commissions for creating sculptures and medallions.
Adolph A. Weinman went into a partnership with another sculptor, Daniel Chester French, in 1898 when Augustus Saint-Gaudens moved to Paris. Weinman opened his own studio in 1900.
He became well known in 1904 when he displayed a large sculpture called The Destiny of the Red Man at the St. Louis World’s Fair. Adolph Weinman is also known for his designs on the United States dime and half-dollar of 1916. The “Mercury” dime and the Walking Liberty half dollar are some of the most beautiful of American Coins.
Adolph Weinman’s work can be seen on buildings around the country. In New York, his best known works include the pediments for the Municipal Building (McKim, Mead and White, 1907-1914), friezes for the exterior of the Morgan Library, and the bronze doors for the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. The Museum of the City of New York has his statues of Alexander Hamilton and DeWitt Clinton. His work in Washington D.C. includes the Oscar S. Straus Memorial Fountain, located in Federal Triangle on 14th Street between Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues; The pediment on the National Archives Building. He has monuments to Abraham Lincoln in Hodgenville, Kentucky and in Madison, Wisconsin. The “Fountains of the Tritons” is located in Jefferson, Missouri. He has a statue of Major General Alexander Macomb in Detroit.
He was a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Architectural League of America, the National Academy of Design, the New York City Art Commission, and the National Sculpture Society, serving as the society’s president from 1927 to 1930. He died in Port Chester, New York in 1952.
- Oscar S. Straus Memorial, Goethe Institut, website, 2017. Link
- National Archives Building-German Roots in Washington, Goethe Institut, website, 2017. Link
- Reiter, E., The Weinman Legacy– Part 1, January 31, 2000, on PCGS Website. Link
- Link , W., Tribute to A.A. Weinman, The New York Times, AUG. 15, 1952.
- Adolph Weinman, Sculptor 81 Dead, Pupil of Saint-Gaudens Was Widely Known for Work Here, in Capital and Other Cities, he New York Times, AUG. 10, 1952. Link
- Lange, W.E. and Martin, H., Adolph Alexander Weinman (Dec. 11, 1870 – Aug. 7, 1952), Historic Detroit.org website. 2017. Link