Giant clay soldiers charge into battle as D.C. memorial takes shape 

By Michael E. Ruane
via the Washington Post newspaper (DC) web site

ENGLEWOOD, N.J. — The mammoth clay sculpture that included figures #13 and #14 weighed 300 pounds, and because of its weight, sculptor Sabin Howard called it “the monster.”

It depicted two American soldiers, one wounded, charging into battle during World War I. And it was going to require Howard and four other men to lift it off its metal stand, wrestle it about 20 feet to a display wall and fix it in place.

Howard was worried. It would be a disaster if it fell. “Okay,” he said. “Let’s just do it.” He positioned the men, and they loosened the piece from its stand. “Pull!” he said. It came free and they caught the weight. “It’s not bad.” he said, as they shuffled toward the wall. “I’m guiding it.”

It wasn’t elegant, but it was the latest chapter in the monumental project to create a 38-figure, 58.5-foot-long bronze sculpture for the new National World War I Memorial in Washington.

The work, underway in Howard’s studio here, just across the Hudson River from New York City, is a little over half completed. Eleven figures have been finished and cast in a foundry in Britain. Nine are being sculpted in clay now. There are 18 more to go.

The project will require many more months of labor, as well as 15 tons of bronze before it is done.

The sculpture, begun in 2019, is scheduled to be unveiled at the memorial on the site of Pershing Park, four blocks from the White House, on Memorial Day 2024.

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