Thursday, October 1, 2015

Recent Acquisitions: The Glass Blower by Jules Grosjean

Although the Alice T. Miner Museum is no longer actively working to collect new items, it does still occasionally receive donations with connections to the Miners and the community. One such item was recently given by Dr. and Mrs. Raymond Charles Dilzer of Plattsburgh—a bronze sculpture of a glass blower by the French artist Jules Aimé Grosjean. Dr. Dilzer inherited this sculpture from his uncle, Charles M. Harrington, who was Alice Miner’s attorney and the executor of her estate. But as it turns out, this piece has an even more direct connection to Alice.

The Glass Blower actually originally belonged to Alice and William Miner, and appears in a photograph taken of their home in Chicago around 1904. Alice presumably bequeathed it to her friend and attorney Charles Harrington, who then gave it to his nephew, who donated it to the Alice! 

Detail of photograph

Charles M. Harrington was an important figure in the North Country during the first half of the 20th century. He was born in Plattsburgh in 1890, the son of Richard L. and Eunice (Morhous) Harrington. He graduated from Plattsburgh High School in 1910, then attended Cornell Law School. Harrington served in France during World War I and was awarded the Silver Star. Returning to practice law in Clinton County, he served in the state assembly, as a county judge, and as chair of the Clinton County Republican Party. He was also a member of the Plattsburgh State Teachers College Council, and Harrington Hall is named after him.

Grosjean’s Monument aux Morts

The sculptor Jules Grosjean was born in 1872 in the small town of Vesoul, in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France, and studied with the Beaux-Arts sculptor Louis-Ernest Barrias. During his lifetime, Grosjean was probably best known for his work on a monument to the dead of the 1870-71 war with Prussia, erected in the town of Gray in 1901. For this monument, Grosjean created a bronze sculpture “represent[ing] a dying soldier pointing towards the German border with words of encouragement to a schoolboy who stands beside him. The lad has put down his books and picked up the soldier’s rifle.” Grosjean died when he was only 34, just as he had been awarded a commission to create a memorial to another artist from Vesoul, Jean-Léon Gérôme.

We’re delighted to be able to reunite the Glass Blower with the other items we have from the Miners’ Chicago home.

Photo of the Miner home in Chicago, ca. 1904, showing Grosjean sculpture above fireplace

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