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 Karl Illava  (1896 - 1954)

About: Karl Illava


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Lived/Active: New York/Massachusetts      Known for: sculpture-commemorative monument

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BIOGRAPHY for Karl Illava

New York/Massachusetts

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sculpture-commemorative monument

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A resident of both New York City and Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, Karl Illava was a sculptor whose most famous work was the "107th Infantry Memorial", completed in 1927 and placed in Central Park along the Perimeter Wall at Fifth Avenue and 67th Street. The work was dedicated to World War I soldiers.

Illava had served in the war as a sergeant with the 107th Infantry, and of this work, the sculpto told his daughter that he wanted to convey the "hell of war". (Reynolds 157) "He captures from memory the myriad emotions and physical responses to war. The seven larger than life-size figures display both the aggressive stance of combat as well as the concerned care of wounded comrades. In a lighter moment, Illava described the group as 'the doughboys chasing each other out of Central Park.' " (www.centralpark) For the faces on this work, he modelled from portraits of friends including Paul Cornell, a prominent New York advertising man, and for the dying solider, he used the composition of Christ of the "Pieta" in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. All of the hands of the soldiers were modelled from the hands of the sculptor.

Illava also did war memorials in Gloversville, New York and Whitestone, New York, and for the Joint Disease Hospital in New York City.

He studied sculpture with Gutzom Borglum and painting with Robert Henri and also attended Columbia University. He was a member of the National Sculpture Society and the Architectural League.


Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"
Donald Martin Reynolds, "Masters of American Sculpture"

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