On War Memorials: Allen’s theory and opinions

Taken from the biography by Agnes H. Allen:

“With the possibility of doing the sculpture on a War Memorial by Maginnis in the Fenway, which later went to another architect with change in politics, Fred spent a good deal of time thinking about it, studying historic uniforms etc. He talked to me about his need to get it all worked out in his mind or on paper before starting the actual work. He explained his thought of the need of two allegorical groups, one Memory, one Peace. Continue reading “On War Memorials: Allen’s theory and opinions”

Carved vs. Modeled Portraits

It is interesting to note the difference between the carved marble relief of Mrs. Cole and the bronze bust of her brother-in-law done a few years later. Although the bust has more detail, the character of the two subjects is clearly portrayed.

Two different media, two different styles, the marble carved carefully with silky smooth surfaces and restrained details, the bronze textured and exuberant. Continue reading “Carved vs. Modeled Portraits”

Medallic and Numismatic Art

Medallic and numismatic art is one that combines artistry and technical skill. Not only was Allen trained in the technicalities of this art as a teenager in the jewelry factories of Attleboro, but he was also trained in the artistry of the work by Bela Lyon Pratt, one of the two most famous numismatists of the day, the second was Pratt’s teacher Augustus St. Gaudens. On his own, Allen had an extraordinary ability to create depth and detail in extremely low relief. This medal is an example. As is the custom, two designs are created to complement each other on opposite sides of the medal or coin. Continue reading “Medallic and Numismatic Art”

Direct Carving

Direct Carving is the practice of creating an original stone or wood sculpture, carving from a rough block of stone or piece of wood without making a model to copy. The sculptor lets the material suggest his subject matter and treatment, often leading to creative and artful solutions to the challenges the material presents. In his more advanced classes at the Museum School, Allen taught the principles and techniques of this method to his students who used stones and driftwood harvested from the New England beaches to sculpt extemporaneously. Continue reading “Direct Carving”