Wayzata, Minnesota

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sepia Saturday : # 86 Saturday 6 August 2011

This is a true bull (and Goddess) story, really.......

..and yes my story begins with this Lion (since we all know how special lions are too)
Lion sculpted early 1800’s by Bertel Thorvaldson, hired to erect a monument to the fallen Swiss Officers and Guards who guarded King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and their children during the French Revolution.   Now for the rest of the cow story.......


We’re off to see ........ “striking and affecting statues" of historic figures and animals by great sculptors who created important personalities and specialized in animals as well…..on this Sepia Saturday trail, just moo-ving along as Alan said!

"Lions, and tigers and bears and bulls, Oh my……all the way to stealing a one ton bull. Amazing story indeed it is!"

"Silly, silly do I love thee...let me count the grunts..."
"Oh Bessie, come on now, push….just a bit more, please,” begged the farmer leaning over his (later known as) one time blue-ribbon cow.  Bessie was so busy pressing her snobbish nose into the air as both horse and cow decided, to stay put in unison.  So sorry it appears no fair for you Mr. Farmer.

Mysteriously, doesn't this real cow resemble very closely the cow statue in Alan's theme photo?

For me too, IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE COWS! From my family’s dairy cows in Michigan to my grandfather’s cows on an Arizona ranch…..long live the cows, every last one of them!

Don't let me forget to mention this fair was a really big deal.  Some of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition Fair goers arrived by boat....

They worked and they saved and they worked some more to be able to make it to the fair! Grab your hats, and we're off.
Greetings from Sepia Saturday   where we find ourselves lost in a world of glamour, an assassination, magnificent sculptures by ingenious artisans, diabolical desperadoes, curious spectators all involved in glitzy tales from yesteryear. By the end you will know most of the story (minus one detail) that I am about to unfold.

My story grazes across Alan’s theme photo, a delight as always and his mission: to uncover a cow!  Yes, a cow and no doubt he sauntered through many a country fields (by way of Internet speed) to unearth one!...and viola! a cow, with also a fair maiden at his side, and both are resting on the grounds of The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, Illinois.  

       We begin moving into the summer of 1893 with a setting of endless adventures until the low-slanting light of late afternoons mellowed into a clear, crisp autumn. October 9, 1893 was designated as”Chicago Day” setting a record attendance of 716,881 attendees at an outdoor event.

The World’s Fair of 1893 more commonly known as the World’s Columbian Exposition was created in honor of celebrating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World of 1492.

The post card below of course is taken from a painting, as we all know there really aren't any REAL pictures of Columbus known to exist and there is no way to be certain that this painting believed to be Columbus and created by Italian Sebastian del Piombo really is of Christopher Columbus, but it works for me now.

As important as it appears to me that one would, sadly again no one wrote even a single word on the other side.

This wouldn't be a story if it weren't for:  Enter “The World’s Fair Bulls” as they were so often called, along with Daniel Chester French, (April 20, 1850 – October 7, 1931) an American Sculptor and his helper, Edward Clark Potter bringing forth two huge and enormously proud bulls that ornamented the livestock exhibit at the World’s Fair.  Hence, Alan’s photo this week.  French, already known for designing the “Minute Man statue in Concord, Mass.  and would later create the Abraham Lincoln memorial statue in Washington, D.C. and then design the Pulitzer Prize gold medal, before finally with the aid of his student, Potter modeled the lions in front of the New York Public Library.  Below (at the end of my post) are two links to further your knowledge in all of French's accomplishments.

One of the two lions by Daniel Chester French outside of the New York Public Library. This photo is one of others in the public domain photographs, File: New York Public Library Lion - 27527.jpg. and located on Wikipedia Commons.
Another of Daniel Chester French's work is Abraham Lincoln
Sculpture by French of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial Statue in Washington, D.C. Photo permission granted by GNU Free Documentation License from

Last of photos, is another very famous statue by Daniel Chester French

French's "The Minute Man" statue in Concord, Mass.
Erected in 1875, in Concord, Massachusetts, located in Minute Man National Historical Park, also called The Concord Minuteman, French wanted to depict this statue for the typical Minute Man of 1775.  The first stanza of Emerson's - Concord Hymn is inscribed at the the base. Photo also courtesy of wikipedia commons.

                   Two days before the close of the World's Columbian Exposition tragedy struck and it ended on a sad note as the ever popular mayor Carter Harrison, Sr. was assassinated by Patrick Eugene Prendergast just as Chicago was swarming with interested visitors and streams of people jammed the gates of a World’s Fair so dynamic and bustling with competition from everything new upon the horizon and all things otherwise known as big, especially in the art department.

      Oh did I fall short of explaining the diabolical desperadoes? That story begins like this. Rightly so, all the artists and bulls were a very big deal at the fair. After all the bulls earned their own name of The World’s Fair Bulls, and once the fair ended they proudly hailed from Garfield Park to greet visitors strolling Chicago’s well known park. However, all great things often come to an end, and much of Chicago’s west side was suffering with weeds covering in masses and drugs flourished through the area.  So, the 1980’s brought the premonition of disaster evident so suddenly and formed an inexplicable chill which sent shivers down people’s backs.

Could it be possible, but one of the bull and goddess statues was GONE!
Apparently, it was a park tour guide that first noticed quite by accident that the bull and the goddess of corn were missing.

(Luckily the stolen one ton bull was not the one pictured in Alan’s theme photo.)

As time went by, the other matching bull remained; still greeting visitors now with its base a bit cockeyed as though someone tried nabbing it as well. Its tail had been hacked off, as was the goddess of grain’s arm. Of course a mere $1,000 reward was offered for the return of the missing bull but it just didn’t seem anyone was ready to release it yet.

Speculation drew greater for the demise of the bull for scrap purposes, and quite possibly much more than $1,000 if it was scrapped.

After a state of slow flux some twenty–four years passed by, those people who were devastated by the theft relentlessly continued their search for the missing bull and its maiden, while others just buried it beneath their everyday trials.

               There is a rainbow at the end of the missing bull’s story.  On a snowy February morning, Julia Bachrach, the Chicago Park District historian opened what appeared to be just another e-mail, and was surprisingly shocked to read, “A big bronze bull with a goddess attached was at a New York auction house,” according to the head of the New York auction house, he was confused having such a strange and curious item arrive so mysteriously.

As the story unravels, the missing bull and goddess had just shown up one day after being discovered on a wealthy rural estate in Virginia. There it was, a big bull standing alongside of a little lake not far from horses in a barn and was in pretty good shape at that! The owner of the property had since died, and the appraiser of the estate immediately thought, something rather “BIG” was standing right there waiting to be noticed, and so began the Internet research to find its rightful home.

Why would anyone steal a one ton bull anyway?

One rumor reported it was being held hostage in a church basement!

STILL THESE QUESTIONS REMAINED. How would you go about stealing it? Could someone or several desperadoes actually haul in a crane and flatbed truck to carry it away from a large, heavily visited public park without anyone witnessing it?

Apparently so.

The one ton bull and goddess of corn had simply been taken.

Yes, finally the missing bull and goddess were back to where they belong however; the entire mystery of it all may never be fully solved. Unless the villain or villains come forward it seems. The Park District had sent Andrzej Dajnowski, along with A Park District lawyer to find out. But that answer will no doubt never come forward. Dajnowski, had studied art restoration as a teen-ager in Poland (also worked for the Park District in the 1990’s) before the return of the missing bull, and was asked to design a replica of it to put on display with the surviving one still at Garfield Park, on the west side of the Conservatory. He studied photos of the missing bull and the surviving one.  Now the entire old and new bull family can graze together again.

It is a happy ending to this bull story really, although they are trying to figure out where the money will come to fully restore the stolen Native American Goddess of corn representing the “New World” and her bull.  It’s safely tucked away until then but you can still visit the Roman Goddess of grain symbolizing the “Old World”. 

After researching all this I think a trip to Garfield Park again (I totally missed the bull) but as luck would have it, the Garfield park Conservatory seems to have been hit pretty badly with hail and needs a great deal of funds for repairs.  So our favorite bull may be out to pasture longer than we hoped.)

To view more works of Daniel Chester French go here

And even more interesting link for French is here

Thank you for as Alan says, moo-ving along with me through another glimpse into the unknown and exciting world of Sepia Saturday if you too want to join or see more go here


Postcardy said...

That's a fascinating story about the stolen bull.

Cloudia said...

great post!
Name it after French, and Google will take people to it!

Aloha from Waikiki;

Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >

Bob Scotney said...

Is it just me? I'm sure 'Columbus's' hat looks like the horns of a cow?
When you started with a lion I thought you were going to include a shot of the lions in Trafalgar Square.

Kat Mortensen said...

I have NEVER seen a cow and a horse yoked together! That was worth the price of admission!


Rob From Amersfoort said...

If you want to decorate your garden, and nobody pays attention. People do the strangest things. Luckily they didn't melt it, as is so often the case nowadays. Since the price of bronze is very high a lot of art works haven been stolen (and destroyed) in The Netherlands this way...

Little Nell said...

Well I learn something new everyday from you! I’d never heard of French before; what an accomplished sculptor. The missing bull story is a good one too.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Wow! You sure gave us a comprehensive breakdown of Alan's themes this week. What an amazing post. I enjoyed the picture of cow and horse teamed up together, learning of the sculpture French and your stolen bull story too.

Thank you, and Happy SS!

Kathy M.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I just love the story about the bull and its now sightly larger family! The picture of the cow and horse pulling the cart, or rather not pulling it, amazes me. I can't imagine either being very happy about it and yet I can see it worked. Almost.

Alan Burnett said...

What can I say?
A masterly post : a perfect balance of information and intrigue. Is there no theme that will catch you out?

PattyF said...

Loved the cow and horse together ... great photo! I can't really see them cooperating too well. What was Mr. Farmer thinking? Great crime story, too. Only in Chicago, right? Thanks for a wonderful post!

Tattered and Lost said...

Poor Columbus. Downgraded to a man who was merely lost and not actually the first to arrive. But he still gets a holiday.

Lots of fascinating information in this post.


well, i certainly didn't expect to read such a story today. well done!! who knew Alan's prompt would bring forth so much.

Karen S. said...

Bob S. I have to agree with you about his hat!

Kat M. It's one of my favorite photos, not too often do have a cow and horse working like that, at least not that I'd ever seen! I think the cow had the cutest face!

Little Nell I know what you mean! I had another post in mind but Alan's photo got my curious nature working overtime! Once I learned all that really cool stuff I had to share it...that cow comes from good stock!

Karen S. said...

Alan- Actually yes, in fact I had another post planned but after being curious about your photo and the amazing stuff I uncovered, my gosh I could have made a book, who ever would have thought one simple cow and goddess could have so much to share!

Karen S. said...

Tattered and Lost, I agree, and it's quite funny how there are holidays and celebrations for the oddest of things sometimes, well in America anyway, and then some other important or more worthy and true things just never get their own day!

Ticklebear - Glad you enjoyed my bull and goddess story, I don't like to ramble so much, but the information was just pouring out, and I could have written so much more...but there had to be a place to draw the line. The photos of the Exposition are on line but the copyright laws are really tight, but if you get to check them out, it was a cool fair!

Howard said...

Fascinating stuff. I'm glad they found the bull. The 1893 Columbian Exposition is very interesting.

tony said...

We Have Had Our Share Of Looting Here in England This week but whoever stole that Bull would be sure to win a Gold Medal if it were an Olympic Event!