Friday, April 16, 2010

Frederick C. Hibbard—Master Sculptor

Frederick C. Hibbard was born June 15, 1881, on a farm in Canton, Missouri. The farm was near the banks of the Mississippi River. As a child, Hibbard spent a great deal of his time exploring the area, pausing to explore sticky clay that he found in nearby muddy ditches. Working with the clay, he sculpted some of his favorite animals. The clay ignited his fascination for the art of sculpture, a passion that remained with him for the rest of his life.

In spite of having landed his first job as an electrician, Hibbard's interest did not lie in this area. He wanted to become a sculptor and, at that time, there was no better place to study than in Chicago. In 1901, at the age of twenty, he enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago to study under Lorado Taft, a master sculptor. He became an assistant to Taft and by 1904, had established his own studio in Chicago.

One of Hibbard's first major successes came during World War I when he was selected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to erect a monument on the battlefield at Shiloh.

Hibbard's prolific career spanned almost a half a century, from 1904 until 1948. During this time he produced over seventy sculptures for the American people to enjoy. One of these masterpieces is a twelve-foot statue of Jefferson Davis unveiled in 1936 in Frankfort, Kentucky, of course, but this would not be the only statue of the Confederate president by Hibbard. In 1940, a second statue of Jefferson Davis was unveiled - this one in Montgomery, Alabama

Originally published in the Spring 2004 The Lost Cause

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