Sculptor - Robert Tait McKenzie
Title - Portrait of Emmeline Bedell
Sand Cast Bronze
Roman Bronze Works N.Y.
25 1/2" height by 12 3/4" width
(65 cm by 30 cm)
Robert Tait McKenzie (1867-1938) was born on May 26th 1867 in Almonte, Ontario, Canada and died in Philadelphia. He was a doctor and a graduate of McGill University, class of 1892. Upon his graduation he was appointed as director of physical education and demonstrator of anatomy at McGill. In 1904 he was appointed physical education director at the University of Pennsylvania where he stayed until his retirement in 1930. It was his teachings in anatomy and medicine that first led him into sculpture and his first recorded bronze was in 1902 of a series of four masks depicting fatigue. His first models were his student athletes and his work consists of portrait busts and plaques as well as statues. His only recorded monumental work was the bas-relief titled Joy of Effort for the wall of the Stockholm Olympic stadium for which he was to receive a special Olympic Gold Medal from the King of Sweden in 1912.
This Bas relief is a portrait of Emmeline Reed Bedell who was a graduate of Vassar and there is one of these plaques in their collection. She was also a beneficiary of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a generous patron of the Arts in the 1920s. Our plaque was cast in 1909 by the Roman Bronze Works foundry in New York City. It is mounted in the original wide walnut wood frame which sets off the plaque.
Books documenting McKenzie's life are:
Dictionary of Western Sculptors, Mackay (1977)
American Sculpture by the Metropolitan (1965)
This sculpture has been Sold