Eli Harvey1860 - 1957
Born: September 23, 1860, Ogden, Ohio
Died: February 10, 1957, Alhambra, California
Eli Harvey was born in Ogden, Ohio on September 23, 1860 and died in Alhambra, California on February 10, 1957. He studied at the Art Institute of Cincinnati in Ohio and the Academies Julian and Delecluse in Paris, France. Harvey lived and worked in New York City until he moved to Alhambra, California in the late 1920s. Some of his best-known works is the lion sculptures at the Bronx Zoo, The Elk bronze for the Order of Elks and the bear mascot for Brown University. Works of art by Harvey at the National Museum of Wildlife Art are: Bull Elk, REX; A Lion and his Prey, American Bison, and Lion and Pigeon.
(Excerpt from Eli Harvey: Quaker Sculptor from Ohio, pg. 40)
"During my years in Paris I made just one carving, a lion and pigeon, from a piece of the finest Carrara marble I could obtain. The idea for this composition came from an incident I saw while modeling my study for the Abyssinian lion at the private Menagerie Pazan. One day the keeper brought a live pigeon for the lion saying 'It is good for him to have living game sometimes.' The lion was on his feet walking when the pigeon was poked through the bars. The pigeon flew upward and the lion made a quick pass at him with his paw but missed. The frightened pigeon flew back and forth, but after a few attempts the lion brought the pigeon to the floor. Then, lying recumbent on his stomach, the lion held the pigeon down with an outstretched paw on each wing. The lion sniffed at the bird but raised his head in apparent disgust at the odor of the feathers. He drew back his head, arched his neck and with ears pricked forward looked at the bird. The pigeon was on his back with his tail toward the lion, so he could raise his head and watch the lion.
Though fraught with impeding tragedy for the pigeon, nevertheless the attitude of the lion was so natural and the pose so proud that I felt it was worthy to be carved in marble."