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 Robert Merrell Gage  (1892 - 1981)

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Lived/Active: California/Kansas      Known for: sculptor-public, figure sketches

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Ad Code: 3
Robert Merrell Gage
An example of work by Robert Merrell Gage
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Topeka, KS on Dec. 26, 1892. Gage worked on ranches in the Midwest before settling on an art career. Initially, he studied in NYC at the ASL, the Robert Henri School, and the Beaux Arts Institute of Design. He was apprenticed to Gutzon Borglum from 1914-16 and again during 1921-23 when he assisted in the designs for the Stone Mountain Georgia project. After serving in the medical corps in WWI, Gage taught sculpture at Washburn College (Topeka) and the Kansas City Art Institute before moving to Los Angeles in 1923. He and his family lived in a shack on Huntington Palisades before settling into a home in Santa Monica Canyon. Gage exhibited locally, fulfilled many sculpture commissions, and taught at Chouinard Art School (1928-30) and at USC (1925-58). He died in Laguna Beach, CA on Oct. 30, 1981. Member: Painters & Sculptors of LA (pres., 1927-29); NSS. Exh: Kansas City Art Inst., 1921 (gold medal); Calif. Art Club, 1924-38; Friday Morning Club (LA), 1926; USC, 1928; Pacific Southwest Expo (Long Beach), 1928; Pan-Pacific Int'l Expo (Long Beach), 1929 (gold medal); LACMA, 1929, 1945 (solo); CPLH, 1929; Santa Monica AA, 1930; LA County Fair, 1932 (prize); Palos Verdes Public Library, 1932, 1935, 1937; Laguna Beach AA, 1933; Santa Monica Art League, 1934; Calif.-Pacific Int'l Expo (San Diego), 1935; GGIE, 1939; NY World's Fair, 1939; Santa Barbara Museum, 1945 (solo), 1948; MM, 1946 (solo); Calif. State Fair, 1956 (prize); USC, 1959 (solo). In: La Jolla Public Library (fountain); Lincoln Jr. High School (Santa Monica); Kansas State Capitol, (statue of Lincoln); So. Calif. Edison Bldg (bas-reliefs); Calif. State Bldg, LA (figures of Agriculture and Industry); Hollywood High School (pylon).
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Interview with the artist or his/her family; 100 Years of Calif. Sculpture cat.; American Art Annual 1925-33; Who's Who in American Art 1936-62; Southern California Artists (Nancy Moure); Contemporary American Sculpture; American Artist, June 1963.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Merrell Gage, known as a sculptor, educator and lecturer, was born in Topeka, Kansas, but Gage left the ranches of the Midwest for a life in the arts.

He studied in New York City at the Art Students League and the Henri School of Art and in Paris at Ecole des Beaux Arts. For a number of years Gage served as an apprentice to the well-known sculptor Gutzon Borglum. He eventually moved to Santa Monica, California after teaching sculpture at Washburn College in Topeka, Kansas and the Kansas City Art Institute.

He continued his teaching career between 1925-58 at a variety of schools in California such as Chouinard Art School, University of Southern California, and the University of California Los Angeles.

Gage was known for his many commissioned pieces including fountains, statues and memorials and also exhibited in his community. Gage died in Laguna Beach, California in 1981.
Exhibition Record (Museums, Institutions and Awards):
Annual Exhibition of the Artists of Kansas City and Vicinity, 1917; Annual Exhibition of the Artists of Kansas City and Vicinity, 1920; Annual Exhibition of the Artists of Kansas City and Vicinity, 1921; Midwestern Artists? Exhibition, 1922; One-man show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in 1945.
California Art Club; California Painters & Sculptors; Laguna Beach Art Association

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born Topeka, Dec. 26, 1892; died Capistrano Beach, CA, Oct. 1981. Sculptor. Painter. Teacher. Attended Topeka public schools and graduated from Washburn College, Topeka before moving to New York to study at the Henri School of Art and the Art Students League. Also studied in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. A pupil of Gutzon Borglum. Instructor of sculptor at Washburn College, Topeka from 1916- 17 and instructor of sculpture & plastic anatomy at Kansas City Art Institute, 1916-23. Moved to Santa Monica, CA and taught from 1925-58 at a variety of California schools including the University of Southern California, Chouinard Art School, and the University of California, Los Angeles.
Gold Medal, Annual Exhibition of the Artists of Kansas City and Vicinity, 1921; Gold medal & Way Side Colony prize, Pacific Southwest Exposition, 1928; Honorable mention, Los Angeles County Museum, 1929.

?Lincoln, Man of Sorrows? and ?Pioneer Mother? on the Kansas Statehouse grounds, Topeka; Topeka Public Library; Mulvane Art Museum; Spencer Museum of Art; also works in Kansas City, Los Angeles, CA, Beverly Hills, CA, LaJolla, CA, Long Beach, CA Indiana State Capitol, San Antonio, TX, and at the San Diego Museum

California Art Club; California Painters & Sculptors; Laguna Beach Art Association

Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
Reinbach; American Art Annual. New York: American Federation of Arts, 1898-1947 13, 14, 18, 22, 24, 26; Who?s Who in American Art. New York: American Federation of Arts, 1936- v.1=1936-37 v.3= 1941-42 v.2=1938-39 v.4=1940-47. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7; Sain, Lydia. Kansas Artists, compiled by Lydia Sain from 1932 to 1948. Typed Manuscript, 1948.; Festival of Kansas Arts and Crafts. Catalog: Arts and Crafts of Kansas: an Exhibition held in Lawrence, Feb. 18-22, 1948 in the Community Building. Lawrence: World Co., 1948; Newlin, Gertrude Dix (Development of Art in Kansas. Typed Manuscript, 1951); Fielding, Mantle. Mantle Fielding?s Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors and Engravers, with an Addendum containing Corrections and Additional Material on the Original Entries. Compiled by James F. Carr. New York: James F. Carr Publ., 1965.; WKDC (Kansas Artists, compiled by Woman?s Kansas Day Club. January 29, 1964. Typed Manuscript.); Kansas Murals and Commemorative Sculpture, compiled by the Woman?s Kansas Day Club. 1974. Typed Manuscript.; Contemp Am Sculp (1929); Annual Exhibition of the Artists of Kansas City and Vicinity (Kansas City Art Institute, 1915-21) 1917, 1920-21; Midwestern Artists? Exhibition (Kansas City: Kansas City Art Institute, 1920-1942 Mines, Cynthia. For the Sake of Art: The Story of an Art Movement in Kansas. s.l. Mines, 1979.) 1922; AskArt, "" , Accessed Dec. 16, 2005; Family Search. Version 2.5.0. Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 2002. accessed July 15, 2006.
This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.

Biography from Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery:
Robert Merrell Gage was a sculptor and university professor known primarily for figural work and monumental commissions.

A native of Topeka, Kansas, Gage graduated from Washburn University before moving to New York and attending the Art Students League, the Robert Henri School of Art, and the Beaux Arts Institute of Design. He apprenticed with Gutzon Borglum from 1914 to 1916, and again from 1921 to 1923 when Borglum was developing the Confederate Memorial Carving at Stone Mountain, Georgia. In the interim, Gage taught at Washburn and the Kansas City Art Institute, completed his first public commission for the state of Kansas, and served in the medical corps during World War I.

In 1923 Gage and his wife, Marian, moved to California, eventually settling in Santa Monica Canyon. He taught at the University of Southern California from 1925 until his retirement in 1958, and also taught at the Chouinard Art School from 1928 to 1930.

Gage exhibited extensively in southern California and completed numerous commissions including Linclon, Man of Sorrows and Pioneer Mother, both on the grounds of the Kansas state house. Other projects include fountains in La Jolla and Hollywood, California, and bas relief architectural panels. He executed non-commissioned sculptures in bronze, terra cotta and wood, and occasionally made easel paintings in oil.

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Robert Gage is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
The California Art Club
Taos Pre 1940

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