William Rush, 1756-1833: The First Native American Sculptor

William Rush, 1756-1833: The First Native American Sculptor

William Rush, 1756-1833: The First Native American Sculptor

William Rush, 1756-1833: The First Native American Sculptor

Excerpt

It is gratifying to the descendants of William Rush that the Pennsylvania Museum of Art has honored him by collecting so many of his works and by issuing this volume.

Naturally, I feel honored by a request to write this introduction yet must admit that I am the appropriate one to do so. While there are others whose names also perpetuate his, none have been quite so close to him, because, in a manner, but one generation stands between us despite the fact that he was my great-grandfather. During my early years his daughter Elizabeth was a member of our home and in the evenings would reminisce of family affairs. Unfortunately I was too young to appreciate the importance of recording these memories or I should at once have taken a course in stenography even though at that time I could barely write long hand. Possibly these details were too trivial to merit preservation but if I could recall more of them I am sure that I would have a better idea of the humanness of William Rush.

In later years I tried to atone for the negligence of my childhood days by collecting all that I could of pictures of his works and literary references. These were assembled in a scrapbook which I am happy to say has been of material aid to Henri Marceau who has prepared the admirable account of the life and work of William Rush for which all we descendants are grateful.

It has also been of interest to estimate something of the personality of William Rush from his few possessions which have survived fires, movings and other disasters and have come down to us. We know that he had a strong artistic bent from his works, and that he had at least one good picture by Von Honthorst. The Artist's Repository also shows that he was interested in the sister art of painting. His favorite engravings in which he greatly admired the long, flowing tail of the horse shows his preference for graceful lines and I cannot but believe that his reaction to cubism might be amusing in its horrification. That he was a religious man may be inferred from the subject of this engraving, from his Bible and a volume of sermons. I was inclined to view him as austere, but this view has been dispelled by his portrait by Charles Willson Peale and his letter to his son Thomas, all of which indicate . . .

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