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WHITNEY, Gertrude Vanderbilt (Mrs. Harry
Payne Whitney), sculptor, was born in New York city, daughter of Cornelius and Alice Claypoole (Gwynne) Vanderbilt and granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt (q.v.), founder of the Vanderbilt fortune, and member of a family that has been established in America for nearly three centuries. Mrs. Whitney was educated by private tutors and at the Brearley school in New York and received her early training in sculpture under Hendrik C. Anderson and James E. Fraser and at the Art Students' League in New York city. Later she was a pupil of Andrew O'Connor and Rodin in Paris. For ten years she devoted herself quietly, but intensively, to her art without thought of exhibitions or possible commissions, during which she perfected her technique and developed a style peculiarly her own. When she first began to exhibit, public appreciation of her craftsmanship came slowly, her wealth and social standing seeming to prevent serious and unbiased consideration of her work, but this condition gave way to a wide spread admiration for her creative genius. She won her first recognition in 1908 in the competition known as the "project of the three arts," in which a prize, awarded by the Architectural League of New York is given for the best design made in cooperation by an architect, a mural painter and sculptor. In this instance the grouping was for an outdoor swimming pool, the general design being by Grosvenor Atterbury and the decorative panels by Hugo Ballin, while Mrs. Whitney's sculpture was the fountain, with a figure of "Pan." Since then she has executed numerous designs that represent a notable achievement in the field of American sculpture. When the World war started she established at Juilly, near Paris, a hospital for wounded soldiers known as American ambulance hospital, "B," with a staff of twenty-five and 225 beds, which she maintained throughout the war. This war experience furnished the inspiration for many of her most celebrated designs, among them being: two panels in the Victory arch in New York city and the figure subjects, "The Spirit of the Red Cross" (in Washington, D.C.); "Red Cross," in the Musée des Invalides, Paris; "His Bunkie," "Blinded," "Chateau Thierry," "Gassed," "His Last Charge," "Home Again," "Orders," "Honorably Discharged," "The Aviator," "Private of the Fifteenth"' the Washington Heights and Inwood war memorial at 168th St. and Broadway, New York city, which was awarded the New York Society of Architects medal for the most meritorious work of the year 1923; the harbor of St. Nazaire, France, memorial which was awarded the French medaille de la reconnaissance in 1920 and which was dedicated in 1926. This memorial rising from a pillar seventy feet high depicts the symbolic crusader, an American solider poised on an eagle, bearing in his right hand a sword with the hilt held aloft, as a cross, with the inscription: "Here landed June 26th, 1917, convoyed by the American Navy the first troops of the American Expeditionary Force, Crusaders of right and freedom with the soldiers of France and her Allies. Erected by popular contributions from every state of the American Union to commemorate a great cause and to honor the imperishable ideals of liberty that unite the two republics." Among her other designs are Aztec fountain in the Pan-American building, Washington, D.C.; marble fountain, awarded the bronze medal for sculpture at the San Francisco exposition in 1915, [[right margin]] & McGill Montreal - 1930 [[/right margin]] and later presented to the government of Peru by the American Society of Peru; the Titanic memorial, erected in Potomac Park, Washington, D.C., by the women of America as a tribute to the heroism of the men who went down on the "Titanic" in 1912; the equestrian statue of "Buffalo Bill" at Cody, Wyo; "El Dorado Fountain" group, San Francisco; "Caryatid," (19-- [[insert 11]]) and "Spanish Peasant," in the Metropolitan museum of art, New York, and "Wherefore," in the Art institute of Chicago; Columbus [[right margin]] -Columbus correction "Columbus" [[/right margin]] memorial, erected in 1900 at Port of Palos, Spain, as a gift of the people of the United States to Spain. [[right margin]] insert #1 [[/right margin]] Mrs. Whitney's compositions invariably bear the imprint of courage, dignity and intelligence. Her style is vivid, peculiarly individualistic and thoroughly American. The two dominant characteristics of her art are virility of technique and a marked sense for the monumental. As
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