History Behind Beneficence

MUNCIE, Ind. (NewsLink)-- The David Owsley Museum of Art is home to 11,000 works of art, with 1,000 on display at any time. A statue called Abraham Lincoln, located on the first floor, was created by Daniel Chester French in 1912. French is also responsible for Beneficence, as well as the Lincoln Memorial. 

“Our Abraham Lincoln that is in the museum gallery right now, that is based on a larger sculpture in Nebraska that was commissioned by some government agency,” said Denise Mahoney, a DOMA Collection Manager. 

While the statue in the museum is one of 12 smaller replicas, French has created other statues--such as The Republic, located in Chicago, as well as John Harvard, a statue of John Harvard located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His most notable work is the Lincoln Memorial.  

“He was an extremely popular American sculptor. He did a lot of these memorials,” Mahoney said. “He did the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.”. 

The Minuteman is another replica of a statue by French that is in the University’s collection. The Minuteman depicts a minuteman stepping away from his work as a soldier in the Civil War to care for his farm. 

“We do have another sculpture by French in our collection. It’s in storage,” French said. “You should be able to look at this sculpture on the website.” 

Beneficence was the last statue French created. It was commissioned in 1931 but was not displayed until 1937. If you’re interested in seeing the museums’ online collection, please visit their website at https://www.bsu.edu/web/museumofart.  

For any questions or concerns, please contact the author at msrupp@bsu.edu . 


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