National World War I memorial sculpture nears finish line in Englewood, NJ

Published: 5 February 2024

By Jim Beckerman
via the website

The last section of A Soldier’s Journey

The last section of the "A Soldier's Journey" sculpture for the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC has been shipped to the foundry in Gloucestershire, UK for casting into bronze.

They won’t come back till it’s over Over There.

“Over there” being the U.K. — where the last of 38 World War I figures that sculptor Sabin Howard fashioned in his Englewood studio are about to be shipped. Probably, the week of the 15th.

Those remaining five figures mark the completion — essentially — of the American World War I monument. What remains now is for the clay figures to be cast in bronze, in a foundry in Gloucestershire, and then brought back to the U.S. to be assembled at the site.

It’s an epic project that has taken four years to finish — as long as the war it commemorates.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Howard, with whom we caught up recently at his South Van Brunt Street studio during a lunch break.

“A Soldier’s Journey,” as the artist calls his 58-foot long, 10-foot high bronze tableau, will be unveiled in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 13 — Gen. John J. Pershing’s birthday.

“I’ve given so much to my work,” Howard said. “It’s my passion. So now all of a sudden it’s like I’ve done something that is being recognized by a lot of people of actual importance. The biggest thing I’ve always wanted to do is make art for We the People. An art that everyone would understand no matter what their education. And that’s actually happening.”

Story in bronze

The five figures that Howard is about to ship represent the climax, and resolution, of a colossal story he’s telling in bronze.

Following his frieze from left to right, the viewer will see a departing father being handed a helmet by his little daughter.

The ensuing tableaux show him one soldier among many, as bayonets thrust and bombs explode, and the wounded, in the care of nurses, scream in agony. Then, in the final episode — the one that’s just been completed — the soldier returns a civilian, handing the helmet back to his daughter.

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