Looking at Washington, D.C.’s Lincoln Memorial, through the eyes of a sculptor

Published: 31 October 2022

By Jim Beckerman
via the NorthJersey.com (NJ) web site

Sabin Howard in Englewood, NJ studio


Sabin Howard, a world-renowned figurative sculptor, is working on an epic WWI sculpture for a Washington DC monument in his Englewood, NJ studio.

The Lincoln Memorial is a shrine, a symbol, a portrait of a soul.

For sculptor Sabin Howard, it’s one other thing as well. It’s a challenge.

“This is the standard for national memorials,” said Howard, who has the daunting task of coming up with a monument worthy to be in its shadow.

For three years, in a cavernous studio in Englewood, New Jersey, Howard and a handful of assistants have been working on “A Soldier’s Journey,” Washington’s newest monument.

This epic bronze tableau, 58 feet long and 10 feet high, with 38 figures of doughboys and nurses, will be America’s World War I memorial when it is unveiled in May 2024 (fates allowing) at Pershing Park.

It will be, by some accounts, the largest freestanding bronze relief in the western hemisphere. And architect Joe Weishaar chose Howard for the project specifically because he wanted someone like Daniel Chester French — the sculptor who created the Lincoln of the Memorial.

“I feel very responsible,” Howard said “I feel the gravitas of the project.”

One odd way that’s manifested itself is in exercise. Howard was always fit, always an avid biker — 10 or 20 miles a day was typical. But now it’s more. It’s almost as if he’s remaking himself to the heroic proportions of the figures he’s sculpting.

“Now I’m biking 140 miles a week,” he said. “Because I have to be the man who can pull this forward. It’s like pulling a huge train forward to the station. I’m doing this because it’s really necessary that our country has this kind of sacredness in a public space. That’s my responsibility.”

The 19-foot marble Lincoln, created by French — it celebrates its 100th birthday this year — is often in Howard’s thoughts. It’s an inspiration. Also, in a real sense, what he’s up against.

Read the entire article on the NorthJersey.com web site.
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