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 Elsie Ward Hering  (1872 - 1923)

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Lived/Active: Colorado/New York/Missouri      Known for: sculpture-portrait, miniature

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Elsie Hering Ward
An example of work by Elsie Ward Hering
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A MISSOURI GIRL'S TRIUMPH.

Over Three Other Women Sculptors She Won a Fountain Competition.
From the Denver Times. (KANSAS CITY TIMES, NOVEMBER 30, 1903)

"Miss Elsie Ward, a Missouri girl, whose home is in Denver has been awarded the prize for the best model, for a drinking fountain to be presented to the World's fair at St. Louis by the W. C. T. U. Upon the completion of the bronze figure she will he given a check for $2,500 for her work. Miss Ward entered the competition which was opened to the women sculptresses of the world about seven weeks ago, and won over three other competitors, Misses Enid Yandell, Janet Scudder and Melva B. Wilson.

The judges who made the award are: Isaac Taylor, chief of works, World's fair; Carl Bitter, sculptor, World's fair: Mrs. H. H. Wagoner, Mrs. W. E. Ingalls and Mrs. G W. Blackwell of the W. C. T. U.

Miss Ward's model is the figure of a woman carrying a child along the path of temperance and right living, thus typifying the spirit of the W. C. T. U. and the great object it has in view. The figure stands on a pedestal decorated with lilies. The style Is French renaissance.

The victory in this contest places Miss Ward practically at the head of the women sculptors of the world and brings her into flattering international recognition. Her work was first noticed favorably while she was studying with the Art league in New York, when St. Gaudens began to take a deep interest in her future. She studied with him In New York for a time and then worked for a considerable period with him at his studio in New Hampshire. She broadened her work by studying extensively in Paris where she also attracted the attention of the best masters in her art. She is now working in her New York studio.

In addition to preparing the figure for the drinking fountain at the St. Louis exposition, Miss Ward will model the heroic figure of Captain George Rogers Clarke which will be placed in the exposition grounds. Clarke was a brother of the famous Clarke who won renown in connection with the expedition of Lewis and Clarke. He also served the Northwest well and won a distinguished place in the history of that country.

Miss Elsie Ward was born in Fayette, Missouri but received her education in Denver. She early evinced her talent in sculpture. She comes of an ambitious family, her younger brother, Ralph Talbot Ward is In West Point, and her uncle is Captain Braisley of the Wisconsin. Miss Ward's two brothers, Tom and Ethelbert Ward, are well known Denver attorneys. Miss Ward is a niece of the Rev. Robert Talbot, Rector of Trinity Church, Kansas City, Mo."

From the DENVER POST

"SOMEDAY SHE'LL BE FAMOUS" "THAT IS WHAT SAINT GAUDENS SAYS
OF A PETITE WESTERN SCULPTRESS."

"When as a Tiny Girl She Molded Clumsy Soldiers out of Missouri Clay and When She Went to Paris a Great Sculptor Encouraged Her."

"She is tiny and young. How young she does not say, because she objects to personalities. Some day she will be famous. Augustus Saint Gaudens, the great, the critical, the always kind, says so. Many people think so. She hopes so-in a quiet, almost whimsical way, for Miss Elsie Ward, she who is diminutive, modest and gifted, does not take herself too seriouslyshe treasures her serious thoughts for her work.

There's a clay bank near a little white Frame house in a quiet town in Missouri where, on drowsy summer days, group of boys and girls, unmindful of the sun, used to play at fighting battles. The soldiers were crudely molded of the clay. The officers in these miniature armies were larger than the privates. They, likewise, were less clumsily fashioned. A small, active, merry girl always molded the generals and majors. Her figures were more skillful than those of her boy companions.

For two afternoons last week the fashionably artistic folk of Capitol Hill attended a studio tea in the Kittredge building. There were a lot of pictures there, but the people persisted in crowding about a piece of sculpture in the center of the largest reception room. They could not sufficiently express their admiration for it, and they were only content when they had been present to a pretty little woman in a picturesque Directoire gown of gray. Her eyes were brown and they twinkled much.

The little woman of the Paris gown is the little girl of the Missouri clay bank with a few inches, some dignity and a number of years added on. The majors and the generals have crumbled away and are forgotten, even by the child who formed them, but the piece of statuary, which is the life size production of a boy, will live long. It is firmly cast and has borne shipping over sea from Paris to Denver. Possibly it will recross the ocean. Has not Saint Gaudens said it was well fit to have a place at the Paris exposition?

She has lived in Denver twelve years, has Miss Elsie Ward, who used to model soldiers in Missouri, and who now exhibits work done in marble that the greatest sculptor of the day delights to view and comment on. 'It has expression.' said Saint Gaudens one day in a Paris studio when Miss Ward showed him the completed 'Boy and Frog'. 'You caught the life.' He continued; 'You caught the spirit of it.'

Miss Ward spent all last year in Paris. She lived in the heart of the Latin Quarter at The American Girls' Club, where were forty other girls studying art. She went over to go to school, but Saint Gaudens said: 'No, have a studio of your own and go to work and I will come sometimes and see what you are doing.' So Miss Ward put the necessary paraphernalia in a bare well-lighted little room and proceeded to work mornings on what came to her mind. She did some relief work and a minor piece or two and then started in on her boy. She found her model after many trials. He was a professional, though only ten years old, and he told her once that she liked to play as well as he, and that she seemed about three years old. But he taught her much French and posed well.

The frog, for the subject shows a child teasing a frog with a straw, was more difficult to manage. In the first place she went over a large part of Paris to find him. Found, he was restless, and had to hold with one hand while he was modeled with the other. Even then he hopped away more than once.

Miss Ward has come to spend this year at home. Her home is over in North Denver, and it was at the North Denver High School she graduated in 1892. She at once began to study sculpture, studying first with Miss Stair, then with Mr. Richards, later with Mrs. Emma Richardson Cherry and Henry Reid. Four years ago she went to New York, where she entered the Art League, becoming a pupil of Saint Gaudens. 'He encouraged me. He always does those who are in earnest and who work hard,' explained Miss Ward, 'and I have kept on. I am happy in my work-I like to feel the clay in my hands-it means so much more to me than would a paint brush.'

It is from fellow students in New York, Miss Spaulding, Miss Evans and others, that one hears of the really high praise Saint Gaudens has given Miss Ward. She does not tell that he has told her that her work is filled with a promise which is not usual. But he has told others, and that is how Denver people know about it.

She only laughs when one asks her and says, with the pretty Southern speech: 'Why, I haven't done much-some relief work and the Boy? What is there to tell about him?' She has recently done a relief of her mother, which is by many thought to excel the Boy. But she likes best to work on children, and if she ever specializes it will probably be in modeling children."

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Elsie Ward Hering was born on August 29, 1872 in Missouri. She was a sculptor trained at the Art Students League in New York City and at the Academie Julian in Paris. She studied with both Daniel Chester French and H. Siddons Mowbray.

In 1901 she went to Cornish, New Hampshire to work as an assistant to Augustus Saint-Gaudens. At Saint-Gaudens studio she met and worked along side Henry Hering whom she would marry in 1910. The couple worked together on Saint Gaudens the "Seated Lincoln."

Elsie Hering continued to work in her husbands studio until her death in 1923.

Credits: Footprints of the Past by Virginia Reed Colby and James B. Atkinson

Biography from Cornish Colony Museum:
Born Fayette, Missouri.  Studied in Denver under Ida M. Stair, Henry Read and sculptor Preston Powers.  She attended the Arts Students League and studied under Daniel Chester French and Augustus Saint-Gaudens.  In 1900 she joined Saint-Gaudens studio in Cornish as an assistant and helped with the sculpture of the General Sherman.  She participated in the St. Louis Exposition of 1904.

Her works are exhibited in the Brookgreen Garden Museum of South Carolina, the St. George’s Episcopal Church in New York, the Saint Louis Museum and in the Denver Botanical Gardens.  She completed the Baker Memorial in Mt. Kisco begun by Saint-Gaudens, but left unfinished because of his death in 1907.  In 1910 she married another of Saint-Gaudens' assistants, Henry Hering, and from that time on subordinated her work to his, spending the rest of her life as her husband’s assistant.

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Elsie Hering is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Cornish Colony

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