OLIN WARNER (1844-1896)
Olin Warner was a nationally-known sculptor who is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and whose statues and other works in major cities remain as a legacy to his creative talent. Born in West Suffield in 1844 as the son of an itinerant Methodist minister, Warner was to move many times with his family, eventually working as a telegrapher to save money for art studies abroad. At 25 he began studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, later joined the French Legion when France declared its Republic, and in 1872 returned to New York.
Following a four-year struggle for recognition as a sculptor and artist, Olin Warner finally won some important commissions after his bust of Daniel Cottier, the art dealer was hailed by critics. Works of note include the Skidmore Fountain in Portland, Oregon, statues of Governor Buckingham at the State Capitol in Hartford and several in Boston including abolishionist William Lloyd Garrison, and busts of a number of famous people. Not confining his creations to metal and stone, he made portraits of Indian chiefs while in the northwest in 1889-91. But Warner’s most outstanding contribution may well be the design and modeling of two bronze doors for the Library of Congress entitled: “Oral Tradition” and “Writing”. The first of these was completed before his tragic death at age 52 from a bicycle accident in 1896.