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Daniel Chester French was born in Exeter, New Hampshire and raised in Concord, Massachusetts. It was there that May Alcott, the sister of the gallant Louisa, gave him his first lessons and his first modeling tools. With little more formal schooling in his craft, and only a few years more of dedicated self-instruction, the twenty-two year old was commissioned to execute, for the centennial celebration of the Concord fight, what was to become one of the most beloved American memorials, The Minute Man.
This first commission launched French on his highly successful career as a sculptor. Nearly fifty years separate this initial accomplishment from the completion of his most famous statue, the great marble Lincoln of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington — truly a lifetime of relentless work which has enriched by a full measure the classic heritage of American art.
Of the many sketches which the artist made between 1912 and 1915, this particular one was selected because a seated figure was thought to be appropriate for the inside of the Memorial. Several stages between the first sketch and the final execution may be seen at the studio of the sculptor now open to the public at Chesterwood Estate, Stockbridge, Massachusetts.