he always protested that the hardest thing for him to do was to
sculpt the form of a baby, his "baby" or, perhaps more correctly,
his baby-like winged cherub has become the emblem of generations.
It's form recreated in numbers too numerous to imagine, his WINGED
LIFE still graces the entrance of 19 West 31 Street after a hundred
years in residence there. It's likeness was reproduced in or on
thousands of issues of LIFE MAGAZINE. It has been the subject of
essay and photograph, postcard and souvenir, debate and conjecture.
And what of the man who gave birth to this baby?
would be easier to walk through Venice and avoid a canal than it
would be to walk through New York and avoid the art of Philip Martiny.
His sculpture pervades New York like pine trees pervade Vermont
and smiling children pervade Disneyland. You just can't escape them...Thank
Heaven! Atop buildings, in public parks, at intersections and throughout
museums you will find pieces of the vast body of art created by
this expatriated Frenchman.
in Alsace and a descendant of Italian artist Simone Martiny, he
left France at the age of twenty to avoid service in the military.
He remained here for the rest of his life. For a large part of his
career he maintained a small studio in the bohemian area known as
in the lower part of Manhattan. MacDougal Alley which housed many
other artists' studios as well as a goodly share of stables was
where he did his creating.
his arrival in the United States he studied with August St. Gaudens,
arguably the greatest sculptor of his time, as well as with another
great, Frederick MacMonnies. After five years of work and study
he opened his studio and he was never without work from that day
on. He used his popularity as a sculptor to move the art form from
merely being used in monuments to being incorporated as part of
architecture. As a result, his works will live to inspire other
artists and innovators for uncounted generations yet to come.
Martiny lived, with his family, in Flushing, ( a neighborhood in
the borough of Queens in New York City) until his death. His passing
was brought about by a second stroke. His first stroke had ended
his career, his second one ended his life. When he died he left
a wife, (his second) and eight children.
a man's work and memory linger so lovingly in the hearts and minds
of so many for so long, is he really gone? His spirit, his heart,
his vision,...these things can never really die as long as one piece
of his work exists and one heart beats a bit more lightly because