Profile of Vash Gon after Curtis

Profile of Vash Gon after Curtis
Alfred Lenz
Bronze relief with green patina, 1906.

Alfred David Lenz (1872–1926) was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, to German immigrant parents. At the age of fifteen he apprenticed to a watchmaker, and in 1889 was hired as an engraver and jeweler by a Milwaukee manufacturer where he learned and mastered all manner of processes of metalcraft. He decided to become a sculptor, traveling to Europe in 1893 and committed himself to a course of independent study. Upon his return to the United States, first to Chicago and then New York, he found work as a commercial artist designing calendars. He set up his sculpture studio in Flushing, New York, where he developed a lost-wax bronze casting process for use in preserving botanical specimens, a sensation in 1916 from then known as the Lenz Process. His bronze sculptures, often more delicate and articulated than the Bridwell example, earned him critical comparison to the Renaissance Florentine Benvenuto Cellini. Lenz died in Havana of heart failure brought on by malaria and years of breathing acid fumes.

This bronze relief was modeled after a 1904 portrait by the photographer Edward S. Curtis of Vash Gon, a Jicarilla chief. The photograph was first published in The North American Indian, Volume I, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The University Press, 1907.

Lenz after ESCurtis.jpg
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Profile of Vash Gon after Curtis