PHILIP SHELTON SEARS
1923 bronze with green patina
inscribed P.S. Sears 192[?] below front foot; stamped Gorham Co. Founders / O F P K at rear of base
height: 44 in.
Provenance: By descent within a Massachusetts family.
Massachusetts sculptor Philip Shelton Sears did not begin his artistic career until he was in his late thirties: after graduating from Harvard College in 1889 and Harvard Law School in 1892 he practiced law for twenty five years before serving in World War I at which point he developed his interest in the arts. Upon the conclusion of the war Sears left the legal profession and studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts under Charles Grafly and then received further instruction from Daniel Chester French. Over the next several decades Sears exhibited his sculptures at the Boston Art Club the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Guild of Boston Artists and received several public commissions including the World War I memorial in Manchester-by-the-Sea Massachusetts which still stands today.
In Stepping Stones the athletic youth’s taught muscles and outstretched arms recall the forms of classical sculpture while his pursed lips and furrowed brow give the work a more modern feel. The bronze which was created for a private garden in Hamilton Massachusetts in 1923 is considered one of Sears’s finest works and the Gorham Company included a 13 7/8 in. reduction of the work in their influential publication Famous Small Bronzes: A Representative Exhibition Selected from the Works of Noted Contemporary Sculptors.
Overall uneven patina and uneven surface; triangular shaped area (approx. 1 in x 1/2 in.) of scratching/rubbing on left shoulder blade; right back of forearm (betwen elbow and wrist) with scratched/rubbed area (approx. 1 x 1/2 in.); embedded surface dirt partuclarly along edges of base.