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Felix de Weldon

Bronze of Senator Bob Bartlett in the National Statuary Hall

Felix de Weldon was a sculptor based in the United States.

De Weldon's Life

Born on April 12 1907 in Vienna, Austria, during the 1920s de Weldon joined artist's communes in France, Italy and Spain. De Weldon eventually moved to London, where he gained a number of commissions, among them a portrait sculpture of George V.

A consequential trip to Canada to sculpt prime minister Mackenzie King delivered de Weldon to North America, and he decided to settle in the United States. De Weldon became an American citizen, and served in the navy during the World War 2.

It was after the war that de Weldon created his most famous piece, of marines raising the Flag of the United States on Iwo Jima.

De Weldon's Work

Approximately 1,200 de Weldon sculptures are located in seven continents. (A de Weldon monument of Richard Byrd is in McMurdo Sound, in Antarctica).

At the conclusion of the war, the US Congress commissioned de Weldon to construct the Iwo Jima statue in the realist tradition, based upon the famous photograph of Joe Rosenthal, of the Associated Press agency, taken on 23 February 1945. The piece is extraordinarily detailed. De Weldon made sculptures from life of three of the six men raising the flag. The other three, who had died in action later, were sculpted from photographs. De Weldon took nine years to make the memorial, and was assisted by hundreds of other sculptors. The result is the 100-tonne bronze statue which is on display in Washington DC.

De Weldon was described as America's greatest sculptor of the 20th century. He died on 3 June 2003 at the age 96.