Sculptor Edward Clark Potter (1857-1923), who was commissioned to create the lions, was one of the most outstanding “animaliers” working in the United States. He ranks among the best specializing in animal subjects, artists such as A. Phimister Proctor, Edward Kemeys, Frederick Roth, and Anna Hyatt Huntington, among others.
Edward Clark Potter (pictured center)It was in fact Potter who sculpted the horses for most of Daniel Chester French’s monumental equestrian statues, including The Columbus Ouadriga for the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition (1893); General Grant for Fairmount Park, Philadelphia; George Washington for the City Art Museum, and Ferdinand de Soto, both in St. Louis; and other commissions. French’s Statues of Plenty for the World’s Columbian Exposition include a powerful bull and horse by Edward Potter, which are now in Garfield Park, Chicago. The collaboration of French and Potter is legendary in the history of American sculpture.
Edward Potter’s own work includes the General Slocum equestrian at Gettysburg, thought by Lorado Taft to be the best monument on the historic battlefield; General Joseph Hacker equestrian, Boston State House; General Charles Devens, Worcester, Massachusetts; and General Philip Kearny at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Major public works by Edward Potter in New York City include the marble statue of Zoroaster, among nine works by different artists, on the cornice of the New York Appellate Court House, Madison Square; Thdian Philosophy and Indian Religion, among the 30 heroic statues atop the cornice of The Brooklyn Museum on Eastern Parkway; and a pair of lions flanking the 36th Street entrance of The Morgan Library and Museum.
All these magnificent horses, personages, and famous American heroes are part of Potter’s noteworthy and highly regarded artistic legacy, but he is best known for the Library Lions.