George Washington Monument, 1904
Daniel Chester French and Edward C. Potter
South Martin Luther King Drive, north of Washington Park, north of East 51st Street
The original version of this monument was commissioned by the Daughters of the American Revolution as a gift to the French for their assistance in the American fight for independence. It was unveiled at the Place d’Iéna in Paris, near the Trocadero, on July 3, 1900, and was the first monument by an American sculptor to be erected in that city. Two years later a group of Chicagoans, including Benjamin F. Ferguson and Clarence F. Buckingham, asked permission to install a replica of the bronze equestrian figure and granite base at the northern entrance to Washington Park.
Washington is depicted with sword upraised as he took command of the Revolutionary forces at Cambridge, Massachusetts on July 3, 1775. Potter created the horse while French was responsible for the figure and he modeled the face after a bust created from life by Jean Antoine Houdon. Potter collaborated with French on several works that included human and animal figures, including groups that flanked the Grand Basin at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Potter remains best known, however, for his lions at the New York Public Library.