Turtle and Lizards

Albert Laessle

Laessle, whose father was a German immigrant woodcarver, entered the Pennsylvania Academy in 1898, where he studied modeling with Charles Grafly for six years. In 1904, he was awarded the William Emlen Cresson Travel scholarship, and he departed for Paris. He received two extensions to the award, which enabled him to remain in Paris for three years. During this time he began sculpting animals and exhibiting several works in the 1907 Paris Salon. Back in Philadelphia, he embarked on a forty-year career as a skilled 'animalier.' He also taught sculpture at the Academy's summer school in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, from 1921 to 1939. Laessle's animal sculptures are in many public collections, including Rutgers University, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Brookgreen Gardens. Turtles and other small animals were his favorite subjects. An earlier composition, "Turtle and Crab" (plaster, now destroyed), was denied a medal in a 1901 exhibition when Laessle was accused of casting it from life. The Academy purchased the wax model of 'Turtle and Lizards" in 1903 and cast it in both plaster and bronze. The bronze version was exhibited at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in Saint Louis in 1904, where it was well received.
Date of Birth
Bronze with brown patina; lost-wax cast in 1903-4
17 1/2 x 13 1/4 x 19 1/2 in. (44.45 x 33.655 x 49.53 cm.)
Accession #
Credit Line
Henry D. Gilpin Fund