Thursday, July 2, 2015

Edward Francis McCartan

Edward Francis McCartan, Tennant's mentor
at the Art Student's League

Edward Francis McCartan, an internationally-celebrated sculptor who taught at the Art Student's League in New York City, became Allie Tennant's faculty mentor during the time she studied there in the late 1920s. He would have a profound influence on Tennant’s development as an artist, especially in the area of public sculpture. McCartan was popularly acclaimed at the time as the person who had designed the iconic hood ornament used on automobiles manufactured in the 1920s and 1930s by the Packard Motor Car Company.

This is the iconic hood ornament designed by McCartan for Packard automobiles
A native of Albany, New York he had grown up in Brooklyn and studied at the Pratt Institute where he worked with Herbert Adams.  In 1901, he entered the Art Student's League where studied with George Gray Bernard. He also apprenticed as a young sculptor with the famed Karl Bitter at the latter’s studio in Hoboken, New Jersey. Bitter had been one of the leading sculptors at Chicago’s Columbian Exhibition. Within a few years, McCartan had become an accomplished sculptor in his own right. His first major commission came with the 1906 heroic-sized portrait in bronze of Benito Juarez in Monterrey, Mexico after which he traveled to Paris for additional study at the École des Beaux-Arts. By 1910, McCartan had returned to New York City where he taught at the Art Students League for the remainder of his career. There he established a noted expertise in doing garden and fountain sculpture.