Daniel Butterfield

  • Sculptor: Gutzon Borglum (John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum)
  • Pedestal: Ludlow & Peabody
  • Erected: 1917 (never dedicated)
  • Medium and size: Bronze (10.9 feet), granite pedestal (7.5 feet)
  • Location: Sakura Park, northwest corner of Claremont Avenue and West 122nd Street.
  • Subway: 1 to 125th Street

Butterfield

Gutzon Borglum on the 1913 Armory Show

Gutzon Borglum, a short-tempered man, never hesitated to express his opinions bluntly. Commissioned to carve sculptures for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, he engaged in a public debate over whether angels were male or female. Here he comments on the famous Armory Show of 1913, which introduced “modern” art such as Cubism to American audiences.

"I mean," he said, "that farcical and foolish exhibition made up largely of paranoiacs. All the interest centred in the cubists. People rushed by the thousands to see them, and I say it was a shame and a crime the way the newspapers paid so little attention comparatively to the good work in the exhibition, for there was a lot of good work hung there. The woman coming down stairs! What nonsense! What insolence! A friend of mine said it looked more like stairs coming down a woman. Matisse has been quoted as saying that his eight-year-old son painted as well as he did. My faith, I believe it." -- Quoted in the New York Times 3/29/1913, from Borglum’s speech at Cooper Union soon after Armory Show

For more on the 1913 Armory Show, see the page (but not the episode) on Theodore Roosevelt.

Cross References

  • Black Friday (9/24/1869) is discussed in more detail in the Bennett Memorial. In the cartoon below, the caged animals being poked and prodded by James Fisk include several human-faced bulls and bears. Jay Gould runs up behind Fisk, bearing $5 million in gold from the U.S. Treasury.

Black Friday cartoon

  • On bulls and bears, see Charging Bull, with an cartoon of bulls and bears that’s slightly earlier than the one shown here.
  • Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan has a quote from Borglum, a quote about him, and more on Butterfield's career.

Upward Glance

In Lower Manhattan, the American Express logo still appears in terracotta, on the sides of at least two buildings.

AmX terracotta logo

This and more than 1,500 photos of New York City architecture are available on the Upward Glance New York screensaver.

The Very Model of a Modern Major General

I know our mythic history, King Arthur's and Sir Caradoc's,
I answer hard acrostics, I've a pretty taste for paradox,
I quote in elegiacs all the crimes of Heliogabalus,
In conics I can floor pecularities parabolous;
I can tell undoubted Raphaels from Gerard Dows and Zoffanies,
I know the croaking chorus from the Frogs of Aristophanes!
Then I can hum a fugue of which I've heard the music's din afore,
And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore ... -- Pirates of Penzance

Copyright (c) 2013 Dianne L. Durante