Monthly Archives: December 2013

George Grey Barnard and Pan

If you think you've seen this sculpture before but you're not sure where, then you've walked the grounds of Columbia's Morningside Heights campus.

This public outdoor sculpture is The Great God Pan (C00.825) by the American artist George Grey Barnard (1863-1938). The work shows the Greek god Pan in his usual form as half-man, half-goat, playing the pan pipes associated with him. As a fertility deity, he is often accompanied by fauns and nymphs, but here he is seen in solitude enjoying the music he plays. This sculpture was one of Barnard's first commissions upon returning from his artistic training in Paris. The Clark family commissioned the work from him in the mid-1890s for the Dakota apartment building on 72nd St. and Central Park West. The sculpture was cast in bronze by Henry-Bonnard Bronze Co., an important foundry located in New York. However, when completed, the sculpture was considered inappropriate for the Dakota, possibly because of the figure's uninhibited nudity. The sculpture was offered to the City of New York and briefly destined for Central Park, but eventually Edward Severin Clark donated it to Columbia for its newly developed Morningside campus.

In 1907 the architect Charles Follen McKim installed the sculpture as a working fountain in a neo-Pompeiian grotto in the northeast corner of campus. Over time it was moved as new construction took place on campus, and currently it is located on the lawn facing Lewisohn Hall.

Barnard's career as a sculptor continued, but he became more famous for his collection of medieval architectural fragments and sculptures, which eventually became the foundation for The Cloisters Museum & Gardens at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Image Credit: George Grey Barnard, The Great God Pan, installed 1907, bronze, Gift of Edward Severin Clark (C00.825). Photograph by Roberto C. Ferrari, Art Properties, Avery Library, Columbia University.

Welcome!

Welcome to the Public Outdoor Sculpture at Columbia blog! Walking around the Morningside Campus, students, faculty, staff, and visitors can see along brick-lined plazas, among verdant trees, and nestled in the lawns a number of large-scale figurative and abstract works in stone, bronze, and steel. These are the public sculptures of Columbia University. There are eighteen free-standing sculptures throughout the Morningside Campus, plus a number of relief plaques in various locations. There is also public sculpture at Barnard College and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The public outdoor sculpture is overseen by Art Properties, the department responsible for all the art collections of Columbia, based in Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. This blog is the place to find out everything you would want to know about these sculptures. Over time we will post historical and current information and images about the public outdoor sculpture. We invite your comments and feedback, and send us your pictures of the sculptures as well by emailing them to artproperties@libraries.cul.columbia.edu. We cannot promise to use every one of them, but those we do use will be made available to the public, although we will be sure to credit you for the photograph.

Image Credit: Daniel Chester French, Alma Mater, 1903, bronze, Gift of Mrs. Robert Goelet and Robert Goelet, Jr., in memory of Robert Goelet, Class of 1860 (C00.870). Photograph by Sandy Kaufman, Office of Publications, Columbia University.