William Rush American, 1756-1833


William Rush, a Neo-Classical sculptor from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is considered to be America’s first major sculptor. Rush incorporated a strong artisanal craftsmanship unique to America with his training in the timeless Neo-Classical European tradition. Originally a prominent carver of figureheads for ships (Philadelphia at the time was a major shipbuilding center), Rush is also remembered along with Charles Wilson Peale as one of the founders of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art which houses some of his sculptures to this day. Born both coincidentally and ironically on July 4, 1756, Rush was one of the first American sculptors to create sculpture specially designed to be placed outdoors. His use of dramatic contrast and strong shadows was achieved by his signature and distinctive deep undercuts that could be seen from a distance.

Museums and Public Collections

Art Institute of Chicago

Brooklyn Museum

Chestnut Street Theater, Philadelphia

Edwin Forrest Home

Fairmont Park, Philadelphia

Fairmont Waterworks, Philadelphia

Independence Hall, Philadelphia

Library Company of Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia

Philadelphia City Hall

Philadelphia Custom House

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania

Schuykill Market Street Bridge, Philadelphia

Philadelphia Masonic Temple, Pennsylvania

Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey

Second Bank of the United States

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