Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Spotlight on Our Collections: Guillermo Tolentino sculpture

Welcome to the second installment of the Spotlight on Our Collections! The object we would like to share with you today is a statue sculpted by Guillermo Tolentino as a gift to President Wilson.

Guillermo Tolentino was a celebrated Filipino sculptor but as a young man, Tolentino worked as a waiter in Washington DC restaurant during World War I. Like President Wilson and many others, Tolentino wanted lasting peace. He decided to sculpt the small statue in hopes of someday presenting it to President Wilson. He informed his manager of his wish and fortunately, Mrs. Wilson was a regular patron of the restaurant. She was able to secure Tolentino an audience with the President.

In 1919, Guillermo Tolentino was able to meet President Wilson
at the White House. It was a brief visit, lasting only about 5 minutes, but the President admired the sculpture and thanked the young artist. The statue is similar to Juan Luna's painting Espana y Filipinas, which features two young women personifying Spain and the Philippines, but Tolentino's statue is instead a young woman leading a small child, personifying the United States and the Philippines, with the inscription "PAX" on the pedestal. The statue currently sits on the fireplace mantel, opposite the artillery shell casing, in Wilson's bedroom here at the Woodrow Wilson House. Please share with us what you think in the comments below!

1 comment :

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