American Neoclassical Sculptor, 1850-1931.was an American sculptor. His best-known work is the sculpture of a seated Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. French was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, to Henry Flagg French, a lawyer, Assistant US Treasury Secretary and author of a book that described the French drain. Daniel Chester French was a neighbor and friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the Alcott family. His decision to pursue sculpting was influenced by Louisa May Alcott's sister May Alcott. After a year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, French worked on his father's farm. While visiting relatives in Brooklyn, New York City, he spent a month in the studio of John Quincy Adams Ward, then began to work on commissions, and at the age of twenty-three received from the town of Concord, Massachusetts, an order for his well-known statue The Minute Man, which was unveiled April 19, 1875 on the centenary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord. Previously French had gone to Florence, Italy, where he spent a year working with sculptor Thomas Ball. In 1917, he designed the Pulitzer Prize gold medal presented to laureates. In collaboration with Edward Clark Potter he modelled the George Washington statue, presented to France by the Daughters of the American Revolution; the General Grant in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, and the General Joseph Hooker statue in Boston. In 1893, French was a founding member of the National Sculpture Society, and he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. French also became a member of the National Academy of Design (1901), the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Sculpture Society, the Architectural League, and the Accademia di San Luca, of Rome. French was one of many sculptors who frequently employed Audrey Munson as a model.
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