Featured Restoration: The Gottschalk Project

The Green-Wood Historic Fund has begun a long-anticipated campaign to re-create the sculpture of an intricately designed “Angel of Music” that once topped the marble pedestal marking the grave of legendary 19th-century American composer and pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829–1869).

Green-Wood’s President Richard J. Moylan, with the assistance of the National Sculpture Society, has solicited proposals from accomplished sculptors to reconstruct the missing statue, which disappeared sometime in the mid-20th century. Three finalists will be selected early this summer, and a “Blue Ribbon” selection committee, with members from the worlds of music, art and history, will be named to make the final design determination this fall.

Now, in these tough economic times, The Historic Fund needs to raise nearly $200,000 to complete the project. Hopefully, a few angels of Green-Wood will appear. If you wish to make a tax-deductible contribution towards this worthwhile project, please click here.

Part of The Historic Fund’s Saved In Time program, which works proactively to conserve and restore Green-Wood’s most endangered monuments, restoration of Gottschalk’s monument started with repairs to the marble pedestal and base, completed in 2007. A second phase of restoration began early this year, when an antique wrought iron fence was installed around the site to replace the missing original. Re-creation of the angel is the next step of the project.

Existing photos of the Gottschalk monument show a white (most likely Carrara) marble angel approximately 4’10” in height atop a marble pedestal. Called  “The Angel of Music,” it stood as an allegory to Gottschalk’s successful career as a composer and pianist. The angel’s left hand held a tablet bearing the titles of six of Gottschalk’s most famous compositions; 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.

Early this spring, topiary shrubs were planted and a topiary form installed at the back of the lot. It will take about five years for the topiary to grow into its ultimate shape. A granite stairway will also be installed along the road.

Louis Moreau Gottschalk is interred close to Green-Wood’s entrance in Lot 19581, Section M.

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