The Gottschalk Project: Panel Named for Selection Of “Angel of Music”

The Green-Wood Historic Fund announced today that five prominent Americans from the fields of art, academia, music and film have been named to a special selection committee that will choose a new “Angel of Music” sculpture to grace the gravesite of legendary 19th century American composer and pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829 -1869) in Brooklyn’s Historic Green-Wood Cemetery.

The panelists are:

Arnold Lehman, Director of the Brooklyn Museum -Danny Simmons, abstract-expressionist painter and newly appointed Interim Chair of the New York State Council of the Arts

S. Frederick Starr, Chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute; Research Professor, Johns Hopkins University, noted jazz musician & Gottschalk biographer

Thayer Tolles, Curator, Department of American Paintings and Sculpture at The Metropolitan Museum

John Turturro,  Brooklyn-born actor, writer and director renowned for his performances in films including Barton Fink, Quiz Show, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Good Shepherd, and for his Emmy-award winning role in the television crime drama, Monk

In July, five renowned sculptors were chosen to participate in a competition to recreate the almost five-foot tall angel that disappeared from Green-Wood under unknown circumstances more than 50 years ago.  The initiative, Saved in Time: The Gottschalk Project, is administered by the Green-Wood Historic Fund, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that works to conserve and restore the Cemetery’s endangered monuments.

Richard J. Moylan, president of Green-Wood Cemetery, said, “The esteemed members of this selection committee – all experts in their fields – understand and appreciate Green-Wood’s significance as a center of beauty and art.  Their participation is also a testament to the importance of Louis Moreau Gottschalk in American music history.  I am ever grateful to Arnold Lehman, Danny Simmons, Professor Frederick Starr, Thayer Tolles and John Turturro for giving so generously of their time and expertise.  Their selection of a new “Angel of Music” will forever change the face of Green-Wood.”

In collaboration with the National Sculpture Society, Green-Wood solicited proposals from some of the nation’s most accomplished figurative sculptors.  The artists participating in the competition are:  Myra C. Weisgold; Kirsten Kokkin; Tuck Langland; and the team of Jill Burkee and Giancarlo Biagi.

The public is invited to view the small-scale models of the new designs currently on display at Green-Wood’s Executive Office, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The panel is expected to announce its decision in November.

Existing 19th century photos of the Gottschalk monument show a white marble angel approximately 4’10” in height.  The angel’s left hand held a tablet bearing the titles of six of Gottschalk’s most famous compositions, while a heraldic trumpet was tucked beneath the arm.  Her right hand was extended in a gesture suggestive of leading an orchestra.  At her feet was a classical lyre.  The 6 ½-foot tall marble pedestal and base on which the angel stood has been professionally conserved.

A New Orleans native, Gottschalk was recognized as a child prodigy by the New Orleans bourgeois establishment.  In 1840, he debuted at the new St. Charles Hotel and by the 1860s had established himself as the foremost pianist in America.  His most acclaimed works include A Night in the Tropics, Bamboula and Le Bananier.

Total costs for the Gottschalk Project will be approximately $200,000.00. The Historic Fund has undertaken a major fundraising campaign to support the effort.

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