Head of a Finnish Boy

Walker Hancock

Head of a Finnish Boy

Artist:

Walker Hancock (1901-1998)

Date:

1939

Medium:

Terracotta

Dimensions:

15 3/4 x 8 1/4 x 8 1/2 in. (40.005 x 20.955 x 21.59 cm.)

Accession #:

1957.15.11

Credit Line:

Gift of James P. and Ruth Marshall Magill

Copyright:

Walker Hancock was educated at Washington University in his native Saint Louis between 1918 and 1920, and at the Pennsylvania Academy under Charles Grafly, from 1920 to 1924. After four years of study at the American Academy in Rome, he became Grafly's hand-picked successor, heading the sculpture program at the Academy for thirty-eight years. From 1930 until his death, Hancock maintained a residence and studio in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and frequently used as his models members of the large Finnish community there. The sitter for the sensitively modeled "Head of a Finnish Boy" was Alwin Jussila from the nearby town of Lanesville. Grafly's influence can be seen in the handling of forms and the strong sense of anatomy. During his teaching career, Hancock also executed commissions for commemorative sculptures, medals, and war memorials. His most famous work, the Pennsylvania Railroad Memorial (1952), a monumental figure of an angel lifting up a fallen soldier, dominates the waiting room of Philadelphia's Thirtieth Street Station. Considered by many to be the dean of American figurative sculpture, Hancock won numerous awards and important commissions during his seven-decade career.