|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Animal sculptor Albert Laessle, associated with the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was born in 1877. Taking a page from similar criticism leveled against the great French sculptor, Auguste Rodin, Laessle recalled that his work was so realistic, that, as a young artist, his fellow students accused him of casting his animals directly from life, rather than modeling them. Whereupon Laessle made a wax sculpture of the same subject to prove them wrong. |
Two Laessle sculptures, Locust and Pine Cone and Frog and Butterfly, are in The Peabody Art Collection, in the Maryland State Archives, Annapolis. Albert Laessle sculpted lions to flank the three portals of the loggia of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, California. His 1917 sculpture of Penguins, is in Fairmount Park (East Park and West Park on the banks of the Schuylkill River) in Philadelphia. Laessle's two-foot-high sculpture of a goat, Billy, based on an animal belonging to the Laessle family, has stood since 1919 in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square. A park at the Walt Whitman Center, in Camden, New Jersey, has Laessle's 1928 sculptural group of Pan, Dancing Goat, and Duck and Turtle Fountain. Johnson Park, in that city, also features Laessle's animal sculpture.
Laessle exhibited in, and served as a juror for, the annual exhibitions of the Concord (Massachusetts) Art Association in the late teens and 1920s. In 1945, his work was exhibited at the Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia. A much later traveling exhibition of sculpture in the collection of Brookgreen Gardens, Pawleys Island, South Carolina, posthumously included Albert Laessle's work. This exhibition was seen in New York City at the National Sculpture Society Gallery, as well as at the Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, in Austin; the Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago; and the Tampa Museum of Art, Florida.
A pamphlet of sculpture by Laessle in the Brookgreen Gardens' collection was earlier published in 1937 by Brookgreen that included reproductions of his work and a biography.
Laessle's work is also in the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, where he also taught. The sculptor was a member of the National Academy of Design, New York City, achieving Associate in 1927, and Academician in 1932.
Albert Laessle died in 1954.
|Biography from National Museum of Wildlife Art:|
|The second son of hard-working immigrants from Wurttemberg, Germany,
Albert Laessle was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1877. Upon
finishing his public school education, Laessle decided that he wanted
to pursue art as a career, though his parents did not approve. Luckily,
his older brother Henry encouraged his talents, financially supporting
Laessle so he could study at the Spring Garden Institute in 1894. |
went on to attend the Drexel Institute (now Drexel University) in
Philadelphia and later studied under Thomas Anshutz and Charles Grafly
at the Pennsylvania Academy*. Laessle received the Cresson Traveling
Scholarship* from the Pennsylvania Academy and spent three years in
Paris, working with Michel Beguine. In preparation for his trip,
Laessle studied anatomy, life drawing, and still-life painting, and
also modeled portrait heads.
In 1907, he returned to Philadelphia and
worked in Grafly's studio. From 1920 until 1939, Laessle was an
instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy.
Unlike many animalier* sculptors, who focused their attention on
mammalian subjects, Laessle specialized in reptiles and birds, often
depicting lizards, turtles, frogs, and barn fowl. He modeled realistic
and detailed animals at close to life-size and viewed his animal
sculptures as representing the conditions of man; each animal, whether
alone or coupled, seems to possess a narrative purpose.
There is little
of Laessle's work circulating today, as he was not a prolific artist,
and he created rather small, limited editions.
numerous awards, including the J. Sanford Saltus Award from the
American Numismatic Society*, the Stewardson Prize, and the Fellowship
Medal from the Pennsylvania Academy. He also received the Gold Medal at
the Panama-Pacific Exposition*, the Gold Medal at the Philadelphia
Sesquicentennial Exposition, the Widener Medal, and the James E.
He was a member of the National Sculpture Society*, the
National Academy of Design*, the National Institute of Arts and Letters*,
and the Societe des Amis de la Medaille de Art.
Laessle's work is
recognized in many private collections and museums, including the
Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of American Art at the
Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, and the National Museum of
Wildlife Art. He executed a few monumental public sculptures including Billy,
a still-popular goat located in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square, and
the Pennypacker Memorial in Logan Square, also in Philadelphia.
* For more in-depth
information about these terms and others, see AskART.com Glossary
|** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.|
Albert Laessle is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915