“I love animals first, last and always. Animals seemed to me truly plastic. They possess such supple unspoiled rhythms.” –William Hunt Diederich Recently, our preparators have installed a lively new bronze sculpture in the center of the Early Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. The work, by William Hunt Diederich, depicts a lithe and graceful pair of greyhounds in play, and is sure to capture the heart of any dog lover.
Diederich was known for his sculptures inspired by the aesthetics, fluid motion, elegant lines, and inherent regality of animal anatomy. In 1900, Diederich left his childhood estate in Austria-Hungary to live with his maternal grandfather, the painter William Morris Hunt (1824 – 1879), in Boston.
He became friends with Art Deco sculptor Paul Manship (who sculpted the set of three bears installed near the entrance to the Crystal Bridges Trail in Bentonville) and was influenced by the flowing, curved lines and streamlined compositions of his works. Diederich’s ability to make bronze appear light and to create dynamic works using nineteenth-century metal techniques further emphasized the greyhounds’ energy and liveliness.
Manship’s bears were originally sculpted as part of a massive bronze gateway, featuring many different animals, that was to be built at the entrance to the Bronx Zoo. Unfortunately, the gateway was never constructed. These three bears, originally sculpted separately, were cast from the original molds on a single base by Manship’s son in 1999, many years after his father’s death.