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 Charles Keck  (1875 - 1951)

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Lived/Active: New York / Italy      Known for: portrait sculpture of notables, medallions, friezes

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Ad Code: 3
Charles Keck
from Auction House Records.
Abraham Lincoln
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Sculptor Charles Keck, 1875-1951, known for his portraits of famous people, was born in New York City, though he is associated with Henderson, Texas.  His art education took place in New York City at the Art Students League*, and National Academy of Design*.  He also studied for an extensive period at the American Academy in Rome*, and in Greece, Florence, and Paris.  He was a student of Augustus St. Gaudens.

Keck created the frieze on the facade of the Bronx County Building in New York in 1933 under the auspices of the Depression-era Works Progress Administration (WPA).* His subjects are classical, Biblical and symbolic, including the West Facade frieze depiction of the Civil War surrender of General Lee to General Grant with Revolutionary pipers in uniform; images of a young, growing and working America; as well as an allusion to slavery.

Keck sculpted a bronze portrait for the 1936 Texas Centennial of Thomas J. Rusk, Chief Justice of the Republic of Texas, which stands atop a granite shaft in Henderson.  His marble portrait of Harry S. Truman, modeled in 1946, and carved in 1947, is in the Senate Vice-Presidential Bust Collection, Washington, D.C.

He designed three busts for the Hall of Fame of Great Americans: James Madison, Elias Howe and Patrick Henry.  His nine-and-one-half-foot-high bronze sculpture of George Rogers Clark, of Lewis and Clark Expedition fame, stands at parade rest holding a rifle atop a nearly thirteen-foot stone base in Springfield, Ohio's park named after the famous explorer.

Perhaps the Liberty Statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is his most famous work. It was a gift from the American Chamber of Commerce to the Brazilian government on the 100th Anniversary of the Republic of Brazil.

Keck also designed coins and medals including the US Panama-Pacific Exposition* gold dollar, 1915; Massachusetts Institute of Technology Tribute to William Barton Rogers medal, 1916; Lewis Stephen Pilcher medal, 1916; Vermont Sesquicentennial medal, 1917; Vermont Sesquicentennial half dollar, 1927; the Great Seal of the State of Virginia, 1931; and the Lynchburg Sesquicentennial half dollar, 1936.

Charles Keck was a member of the American Numismatic Society*, Century Association*, New York; American Federation of Arts; National Sculpture Society*; National Academy of Design (A.N.A. 1921, N.A. 1928); National Arts Club*, New York; and New York Architectural League.

In 2002, Charles Keck's sculpture Boy with a Fish, a landmark in Binghamton, New York's Recreation Park since the 1920s, was unveiled after its two-year restoration by Binghamton University art faculty and students.  Designed in 1921, the sculpture is one of only two fountain sculptures by Keck, who was noted for his public portrait monuments including Andrew Jackson and Lewis and Clark memorials in Charlottesville, Virginia and Kansas City.

John and Deborah Powers, Texas Painters, Sculptors and Graphic Artists

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Charles Keck is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915

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