In Much Wisdom

Charles Grafly

In Much Wisdom


Charles Grafly (1862-1929)




Bronze with black patina; sand cast in 1902-3; mosaic inlay of stone and gilded glass


63 1/2 x 27 1/4 x 27 1/4 in. (161.29 x 69.215 x 69.215 cm.)

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Henry D. Gilpin Fund


After studying at the Pennsylvania Academy under Thomas Eakins and Thomas Anshutz, Charles Grafly traveled to Paris in 1888, where for the next four years he worked under several teachers and successfully exhibited in the Paris Salons. Back in Philadelphia after 1891, Grafly taught at the Drexel Institute for several years and at the Pennsylvania Academy until his death. Grafly designed a number of major public monuments and also produced uncommissioned allegorical pieces, of which "In Much Wisdom" was the last. Its subject, a symbol-laden goddess, stands on an ornate pedestal. A serpent rises from the beautifully modeled vegetation to her shoulders and winds along her left arm. The figure’s sensuality recalls the work of European Symbolist artists, who may have been familiar to Grafly from his years abroad. Applied ornament of gilded glass and turquoise mosaic on the lower, square pedestal signals the sculptor's growing interest in experimentation. "In Much Wisdom" is one of nineteen works by Grafly in the Academy’s collection. 13889 lbs/cubic/ft.