Alexander Phimister Proctor (1860 - 1950) was born on September 27th 1860 in Bosanquit, Ontario, Canada and spent his early years in Denver Colorado which in 1871 was a frontier town. His earliest training in art was from a Dutch painter, at fifty cents a lesson, who had arrived in Denver. He became an avid hunter in his youth as well as an artist, combining hunting with sketching wild animals in the Rocky Mountains where he met the artist Frederick Delenbaugh who was very impressed by the young Proctor and encouraged him to go to Europe to study. He learned the art of wood engraving from J. Harrison Mills and his first artistic commission was for woodcuts for the book Hands Up by Sheriff Dave Cook. He left Denver and studied art at the National Academy of Design and The Art Student League in New York City where he met the artist John Rodgers who helped him with modeling and encouraged him to do his first bronze titled Mule Deer which he modeled at the New York Zoo and a photograph of this bronze was published in Harpers Weekly.
In 1891 Proctor was given a commission for thirty-five sculptures of western animals to be displayed at the 1893 Worlds Colombian Exhibition in Chicago. This gave him national as well as international recognition. He also made two large equestrian monuments of American Indians for the Exhibition using as models the Indians who were performing with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show at the fair. These two Monuments were the first ones made to celebrate Native Indians and Proctor received advise and help from Kemeys and Saint-Gaudens as he had never done a monumental work before. While modeling his monuments at Lorando Taft's Chicago studio he met Margaret Gerow who was one of Taft's "white rabbits" and he later married her. Proctor's great success at the 1893 Exhibition gave him enough money that he and his new wife could travel to Paris to further his studies in sculpture. In 1894 while in Paris he modeled a bronze titled Hound Gnawing a Bone which received much acclaim from the Paris art world. He was to cut short his studies in Paris and return to New York to model the horses for the equestrian monuments of General Sherman and General Logan for Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
In 1896 he was given the first Rinehart Scholarship for three years of study in Paris at the Academie Julian and the Academie Colarossi. It was during these three years that he cast The Indian Warrior, the Prowling Panther as well as a few other animal sculptures which he exhibited at the 1900 Paris Explosion winning the Gold Medal. He returned to the United States as an accomplished and famous sculptor establishing a studio in New York city and received commissions at both the Buffalo and St. Louis Expositions as well as many monument commissions in New York which include: The Lions on the McKinley Monument, the Lion House at the Bronx Zoo, and The Princeton University Tiger. Proctor and his wife traveled extensively in the West, living with the Crow Indians on their reservation in 1914 and even being adopted by Chief Little Wolf who gave him the name Okomahkahchitah (Large Coyote). He found that he missed the west so much that he moved to Oregon in 1915. He was to continue sculpting Indians and Cowboys and executed the Bronco Buster and On the War Trail for the Denver Civic center as well several monuments in Oregon. He even received several commissions from President Theodore Roosevelt, one of which was to adorn the State Dining Rooms at the White House.
A. P. Proctor was to receive many public commissions for monuments in his lifetime which gave him great notoriety as well as financial independence. His last work was was commission in 1938 for the Mustangs at the Texas Memorial Museum of the University of Texas. The outbreak of the second world war and its shortage of available metals to cast bronze art delayed the casting and installation of this monument until 1948, Proctor was by then an old man at age 88. The Honors and awards that A. P. Proctor was given during his lifetime include: 1893 Elected to the National Sculpture Society. 1895 made an Academician of the Nation Academy of Design. 1900 Gold Medal for sculpture at the Paris Exhibition. In 1904 he exhibited at the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition in St. Louis and in 1915 at Panama Exposition in San Francisco. The Gorham Company, JNO Williams, Roman Bronze Works, as well as a few Foundries in Europe cast most of his bronzes.
The life of Alexander Phimister Proctor is documented in the following books:
Sculptor in Buckskin by Alexander Phimister Proctor (1971)
The Animaliers by James Mackay (1973)
Animals in Bronze by Christopher Payne (1986)
American Sculpture by the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1965)
Dictionary of American Sculptors by Glenn Opitz
Masters of American Sculpture by Donald M. Reynolds
Bronzes of the American West by Patricia Broder (1973)
Select any Image below to see a description and more information about that Bronze