Caspar Buberl

Caspar Buberl bigraphy, stories - American sculptor

Caspar Buberl : biography

1834 – August 22, 1899

Caspar Buberl (1834 – August 22, 1899) was an American sculptor. He is best known for his Civil War monuments, for the terra cotta relief panels on the Garfield Memorial in Cleveland, Ohio (depicting the various stages of James Garfield’s life), and for the -long frieze on the Pension Building in Washington, D.C..


Born in Königsberg, Bohemia, (now Kynšperk nad Ohří, Czech Republic), as a young man Buberl studied art in Prague and Vienna before immigrating to the United States in 1854. In 1882 Montgomery C. Meigs was chosen to design and construct the new Pension Building, now the National Building Museum, in Washington D. C. and, in doing so, broke away from the established Greco-Roman models that had been the basis of government buildings in Washington up until then, and was to continue to be following the Pension Building’s completion. Meigs based his design on Italian Renaissance precedents, notably Rome’s Palazzo Farnese and Plazzo della Cancelleria.

Included in his design was a -long sculptured frieze executed by Buberl. Since creating a work of sculpture of that size was well out of Meigs’ budget, he had Buberl create 28 different scenes [totaling in length), which were then mixed and slightly modified to create the continuous parade that includes over 1,300 individual figures. Because of the way that the 28 sections were modified and intermixed, it is only by somewhat careful examination that the frieze reveals itself to be the same figures repeated some eighteen times. The sculpture includes infantry, navy, artillery, cavalry and medical components as well as a good deal of the supply and quartermaster functions, since Meigs had overseen the latter two functions during the Civil War.

Meigs insisted that any teamster included in the Quartermaster panel "must be a negro, a plantation slave, freed by war". This figure was ultimately to assume a position in the center, over the west entrance to the building.

Buberl created dozens of Civil War statues and monuments for various cities and states, including several for New York veterans associations to be placed on the Gettysburg Battlefield and a bronze bust of President Abraham Lincoln, which was recently sold for $5,800. His impressive New York State Monument crowns Cemetery Hill, and a number of individual memorials for specific regiments dot the battlefield.

He died in New York City.

Leading works

Monuments on the Gettysburg Battlefield

  • 9th New York Cavalry Monument – dedicated July 1, 1888
  • 4th New York Independent Battery – dedicated July 2, 1888
  • 5th New York Cavalry Monument – dedicated July 3, 1888
  • 126th New York Infantry – dedicated October 3, 1888
  • 10th New York Cavalry Monument – dedicated October 9, 1888
  • 54th New York Infantry – dedicated July 4, 1890
  • 111th New York Infantry Monument – dedicated June 26, 1891
  • New York State Monument – dedicated July 2, 1893
  • 41st New York Infantry – dedicated July 3, 1893
  • 52nd New York Infantry – dedicated July 3, 1893

Other Civil War monuments

  • Civil War Monument, Manchester, New Hampshire, George Keller, architect, 1879
  • Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Buffalo, New York, George Keller, architect, 1884
  • Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Nashua, New Hampshire, 1889
  • Alexandria Confederate Memorial, Alexandria, Virginia, 1889
  • A.P. Hill Monument, Richmond, Virginia, 1892
  • Howitzer Monument, Richmond, Virginia, 1892
  • Confederate Monument, University of Virginia Cemetery, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1893

Other memorials and monuments

  • Fulton Memorial, Fulton Park, Brooklyn, New York, 1872
  • Fireman’s Memorial, Church Square Park, Hoboken, New Jersey, 1891
  • Dewey Triumphal Arch, Spanish-American War, New York City, 1899

Architectural sculpture

  • Columbia Defending Science and Industry, National Museum/Art and Industries Building, Washington, D.C., Adolph Cluss, architect, Montgomery Meigs, associate architect, 1881
  • Pension Building Frieze, National Building Museum, Washington, D.C., Montgomery Meigs, architect, 1883
  • James A. Garfield Memorial, Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio, George Keller, architect, 1890
  • Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, Hartford, Connecticut, George Keller, architect, 1890

Pension Building Frieze

Image:Meigs-1.jpg|Pension Building|National Building Museum Image:Meigs-2.jpg|Corner figures Image:National Building Museum frieze.JPG|South entrance Image:Meigs-5.jpg|Black teamster

Images of the James A. Garfield Memorial

Image:CB-Garfield–6.jpg|James A. Garfield Memorial, Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio, 1890, George Keller, architect Image:CB-Garfield–2.jpg|James A. Garfield Memorial detail – Garfield, the Educator Image:CB-Garfield–3.jpg|James A. Garfield Memorial detail – Garfield, the Civil War Hero Image:CB-Garfield–4.jpg|James A. Garfield Memorial detail – Garfield, the Martyred President

Images of Hartford memorial

Image:CB -War Memorial, Hartford CT.jpg|Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, Hartford, Connecticut, 1885, George Keller, architect Image:CB – Hartford detail.jpg|Hartford detail

Images of Buffalo memorial

File:Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Buffalo, NY – IMG 3705.JPG|Buffalo Civil War Monument, 1883 File:Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Buffalo, NY – IMG 3730.JPG|detail Image:BuberlBuffalo2.jpg|Detail File:Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Buffalo, NY – IMG 3732.JPG|Detail