Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    George Barnard Archive of 18 Letters with 2 Additional Letters from Wife. All letters (averaging 8.5" x 11") are addressed to Reverend Cornelius Greenway, and span the years from 1930 to 1936 written from New York City. Greenway was a close friend, and Barnard often turned to him for personal and financial advice. A notable American sculptor, Barnard was also a collector of Medieval art, and much of his collection forms the core collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    A frequent topic in Barnard's letters was "The Rainbow Arch", a project that united the men; the Arch was to be a "monument for the mothers and war dead". Greenway had served during the First World War and Barnard was deeply affected by the destruction the world had seen. He dedicated much of his life to producing "The Rainbow Arch", which was to be a hundred-foot arch with approximately 400 large figures. Barnard ran into numerous financial issues (mainly due to his expensive hobby of collecting of medieval art). In a letter dated June 15, 1931, Barnard writes: "After long delay and great patience, the firm holding a bill against me for shipment of a large portion of my Gothic collection, will sell tomorrow that part which I intended for a covering for the building to contain the second Gothic collection, and in so doing make a serious break in the embankment of my hopes for giving the memorial Arch to the people. In truth I will never be able to meet the cost of this Arch if this portion of my collection is sold, which it must be. I am writing you this to receive advice from you and Mr. Wilson whether I should give this news to the press or keep it quiet."

    There were times when the enormity of the project weighed heavily on Barnard. In a letter dated June 18, 1935, he speaks of his concerns about the project: "Your reaction on the covered crosses and their colored poppies, (if paper), was natural. You had fought and seen poppies and youth dying together, so those flowers mean more to you (soldiers) then all the statues in the world. Mean while [sic] this poor hand has fought only with clay, and the hand priests poor as they are, are his all. The arch as you last saw it, does not tell its story. The public care nothing for the sculpture, they have about stopped going to see it. Yet the sculpture portion is all I have done in it, I stepped out of my realm, when I thought to help, with my art, [illegible] anything. The greatest sculpture we have is the Parthenon Beauty to express (war) victory. I should not have transgressed on the preachers art. Well, I accept the truth of my experience. Why not at 70?"

    His hopes remained low, as seen in a letter dated October 23, 1935: "If we can't work as hard for soldiers of Peace - Creation, as for soldiers of War - Destruction -Then-life-is-a-failure, you have done both - and those about you are reaping the reward. I am glad those husky shoulders of yours are large to shield your heart. It was well you did not arrive at the luncheon so few came. The Rain Bow Arch seems to be mostly rain, but how can I be oppressed when I receive and letters as you write me, from Maine and from your heart. Rain Bow Arch is to be closed to the public next week, the last day of October. It is visited by about 50 to 250 a day - too cold to continue it into the winter, several figures are added since you saw it. I have over worked again and while not knocked down as I was last January, have be called to halt, never again to go the great rate I did all my life, but I must keep at work easily".

    Bernard was able to open a completed plaster model version of the Rainbow Arch to the public on December 10, 1936. It consisted of approximately 50 nine-foot figures. Unfortunately, the artist died on April 21, 1938 before completing the final version of the project. In his will, he dedicated the monument to the Gold Star Mothers of America. From the Estate of Malcolm S. Forbes.

    Condition: Archive letters range from good to fair. Light toning on all letters, with usual mail folds. Most letters are accompanied by their original envelopes.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2017
    19th Thursday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 132

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $250,000 (minimum $19), plus 20% of any amount between $250,000 and $2,500,000, plus 12% of any amount over $2,500,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 April 23 Historical Manuscripts Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage Auctions and Mr. Chad Reingold were...professional and courteous in all transactions and provided outstanding service in answering my many emails. I recommend them at the highest level.
    Killy M.,
    Melbourne Beach, FL
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    The Collection of James Kwis Leonard Internet Rare Books Auction
    The Collection of James Kwis Leonard Internet Rare Books Auction
    REALIZED SO FAR $300,884