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Whitney Western Art Museum

Proctor, Alexander Phimister 416
steel 2355 plaster 163
Sculpture 571
powder horns 2 whip musket 2 Man 252
H: 43 in, width: 33 in, depth: 9 in
Pioneer Mother (mountain man)
Credit Line:
Gift of A. Phimister Proctor Museum with special thanks to Sandy and Sally Church
The monumental Pioneer Mother was dedicated in 1925 in Kansas City to a reported crowd of nearly thirty thousand people. The viewers enthusiastically praised Proctor's ambitious pioneer sculpture group of three adults, a baby, and two horses. The powerful unity of the group, the forward motion, and the symbolic force of the mother impressed the audience at the dedication. In Proctor's own words, "It seemed to me that most people, in thinking of pioneers, thought solely of the men. I considered the heroism of the women equal to, and perhaps greater than, the men's." To give life to his sculpture, Proctor worked from models-people and animals. To create this sculpture group, Proctor moved his family to southern California because he was certain that western characters would be easier to find in Hollywood than anywhere else. He was correct. Proctor found models to pose for the figures and quickly finished the entire group. The actual monument in Kansas City is larger than these figures. This maquette was part of the enlarging process--one step prior to the full-size sculpture.
mountain man carrying musket over shoulder
Accession Number:

As of 06-14-2017 this object is on display in the Whitney Western Art Museum.
If you are making a special trip, please double-check before visiting.

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