Lorado Taft

Lorado Taft bigraphy, stories - Sculptor

Lorado Taft : biography

April 29, 1860 – October 30, 1936

Lorado Zadoc Taft (April 29, 1860 – October 30, 1936) was an American sculptor, writer and educator. Taft was born in Elmwood, Illinois, in 1860 and died in his home studio in Chicago in 1936. New York Times. October 31, 1936.


  • Bach, Ira and Mary Lackritz Gray, Chicago’s Public Sculpture, University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1983
  • Barnard, Harry, This Great Triumvirate of Patriots – The inspiring Story behind Lorado Taft’s Chicago Monument to George Washington, Robert Morris and Haym Solomon, Follett Publishing, Chicago Illinois 1971
  • Contemporary American Sculpture, The California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, San Francisco, The National Sculpture Society 1929
  • Craven, Wayne, Sculpture in America, Thomas Y. Crowell Co, New York 1968
  • Exhibition of American Sculpture Catalogue, 156th Street of Broadway New York, The National Sculpture Society 1923
  • Garvey, Timothy J., Public Sculptor – Lorado Taft and the Beautification of Chicago, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, Illinois 1988
  • Goode, James M. The Outdoor Sculpture of Washington, D.C.’., Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 1974
  • Kubly, Vincent, The Louisiana Capitol-Its Art and Architecture, Pelican Publishing Company, Gretna 1977
  • Kvaran, Einar Einarsson, Architectural Sculpture of America, unpublished manuscript
  • Lanctot, Barbara, A Walk Through Graceland Cemetery, Chicago Architecture Foundation, Chicago 1988
  • Opitz, Glenn B, Editor, Mantle Fielding’s Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers, Apollo Book, Poughkeepsie NY, 1986
  • Rubenstein, Charlotte Streifer, American Women Sculptors, G.K. Hall & Co., Boston 1990
  • Scheinman, Muriel, A Guide to the Art of the University of Illinois, University of Illinois Press, Urbana 1995
  • Scherrer, Anton. "Our Town." Indianapolis Times. 18 April 1939.
  • Weller, Allen Stuart, Lorado in Paris – the Letters of Lorado Taft 1880–1885, University of Illinois Press, Urbana Illinois 1985

Later years

As Taft grew older, his eloquence and compelling writing led him, along with Frederick Ruckstull, to the forefront of sculpture’s conservative ranks, where he often served as a spokesperson against the modern and abstract trends that developed during his lifetime. Taft’s frequent lecture tours for the Chautauqua gave him a broad, popular celebrity status.

In some settings, Taft is better known for his writings than for his sculpture. In 1903, Taft published The History of American Sculpture, the first survey of the subject. The revised 1925 version was to remain the standard reference on the subject until Wayne Craven published "Sculpture in America" in 1968. In 1921, Taft published Modern Tendencies in Sculpture, a compilation of his lectures given at the Art Institute of Chicago. At the time, it offered a distinct perspective on the development of European sculpture; today, the book continues to be regarded as an excellent survey of American sculpture in the early years of the 20th century.

Taft was a member of the National Academy of Design, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters; he headed the National Sculpture Society in the 1920s and served on the Board of Art Advisors of Illinois. He received numerous awards, prizes, and honorary degrees, served on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts from 1925 to 1929, and was an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects. His papers reside in collections at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, the University of Illinois, and the Art Institute of Chicago.Thomas E. Luebke, ed., Civic Art: A Centennial History of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, 2013): Appendix B, 556..