George Washington Carver Houses - Bears
“Bears” is a sculpture by Joseph Kiselewski, made of bronze with a marble base, which was dedicated in 1956 at the George Washington Carver Houses, in East Harlem, Manhatten,” Barb Noland writes. The bears are no longer at the George Washington Carver Houses, according to Barb. They currently reside at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina.
“Bears Children’s Playground”
United State House of Representatives
These four marble reliefs are all located over the gallery doorway at the Chambers of the House of Representatives in Washington D.C. They are each 28” in diameter. All four were created by Joe in 1950. According to the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum there are a total of twenty-three reliefs of great historical law makers in the House Chambers. The Smithsonian says that Edward H. Ratti was the stone carver for Joe’s four reliefs.
Here are a few notes on each of the people portrayed in the reliefs.
Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was one of the most powerful and influential of the medieval popes. He exerted a wide influence over the Christian states of Europe, claiming supremacy over all of Europe's kings.
Gaius was a Roman jurist who lived in the 2nd century. He wrote the Institutes of Gaius about the AD 161. It was a textbook of legal institutions divided into four books.
was a sultan of the Ottoman Empire but there were a number of men with that name that ruled the Ottomans including Suleiman the Magnificent.
Robert Joseph Pothier
Robert Joseph Pothier was a French jurist and legal author whose theories on the law of contract were influential in England as well as in the United States. He lived from 1699 to 1792.
These are images of Joe’s fourteen pierced panels created for Loyola Seminary in Shrub Oak, Westchester County, New York, in the early to mid 1950s. The following excerpt from a lengthy article about the seminary, written by Fr. Curran and obtained from the Jesuit Online Library, nicely describe the work.
‘Loyola Seminary, Shrub Oak
Francis X. Curran, S.J.
On May 4, 1957, the last unit of the new Loyola Seminary was solemnly blessed.” . . .
“The main entrance is through a two story limestone arch at the eastern end of the north fagade of the central section. Decorated by a carved representation of the seal of the Society, the entrance is enhanced by fourteen pierced limestone panels depicting incidents in the lives of Jesuit saints. The sculptor was Joseph Kiselewski. The events commemorated are as follows: 1. St. Ignatius commissioning St. Francis Xavier to the Indies. 2. Xavier dying at Sancian. 3. St. Peter Canisius preaching in Germany. 4. St. Peter Claver baptizing the slaves at Cartagena. 5. St. Aloysius Gonzaga assisting the plague-stricken. 6. St. Isaac Jogues with the Indians at Auriesville. 7. St. John Francis Regis preaching in France. 8. St. John Berchmans instructing altar boys. 9. St. Stanislaus Kostka being received by Claude Acquaviva. 10. St. Francis Borgia, Duke of Gandia, being received by Ignatius. 11. St. Alphonsus Rodriguez and St. Peter Claver at Majorca. 12. St. Andrew Bobola martyred by the Cossacks. 13. St. Robert Bellarmine confuting the divine right of kings. 14. The Japanese martyrs, Saints Paul Miki, John de Goto, James Kisai.”
The seminary is now abandoned.
Our Lady of the Mountains
This statue by Joseph Kiselewski, known as Our Lady of the Mountains, was commissioned by Catholic Bishop William T. Malloy in the 1950s, according to Barb Noland’s research. The statue is currently located at St. Anne’s Retreat Center at 5275 St. Anne Drive in Melbourne, Kentucky. Barb notes that a scene for the Dustin Hoffman film "Rain Man" was shot at St. Anne’s. The statue was originally at the Diocesan Retreat House in Erlanger, KY.
Public School #18
There are two of Joe’s sculptures at Public School #18, 502 Morris Avenue, Bronx, New York. The ten foot high limestone statue of John Peter Zenger is mounted on the brick wall of the school. Joe’s notes are that O’Connor and Kilham architects assisted with this project. The second sculpture is a large granite frog located near the subway station. Both were installed in 1951, according to the Lehman College art library and the Bronx Public Art Inventory. The Zenger statue was commissioned by the Board of Education and the frog by City of New York Parks and Recreation, according to the inventory.
O'Connor & Kilham also designed the two-story wing of the Metropolitan Museum that now contains medieval art and European sculpture and decorative arts, among other projects.
John Peter Zenger was an American printer, journalist, and champion of free speech and thus, a great role model for school children. In 1733 he began printing the New York Weekly Journal. The newspaper printed articles critical of the governor. The governor sued Zenger, who published the truth about the governor, for libel. The jury ruled that truth is a defense against libel accusations.
General Accounting Office
There are two reliefs done by Joe in 1951 that are located at the General Accounting Office in Washington, D.C. According to the Art Inventories Catalogue of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, they are each 10 ft. 1 in. x 16 ft. x 2 ft. 1/2 in. Joe’s notes say, simply, that they are 12 by 16 feet.
The Smithsonian describes them as follows: “Relief panel depicting professional workers such as scientists and teachers on the left and relief panel depicting laborers on the right.”
The Smithsonian Art Inventory includes this note: “There were to be similar reliefs designed by Lee Lawrie for the H Street entrance, but they were never carved; the plaster scale models are in the collection of the General Accounting Office.”
Lee Lawrie was Joe’s mentor and employer when he first arrived in New York.
Joe received the commission to create this nearly life size statue of St. Jerome, patron saint of libraries, in February of 1959 and, with the assistance of St. Paul Statuary Company carver Egisto Bertozzi, had it ready for installation in the tower of O’Shaughnessy Library for the new buildings dedication on Monday, October 30th. The library is located on the campus of St. Thomas University in St. Paul Minnesota.
The four and three quarter foot tall statue depicts Jerome, who died in 420 A.D., in a long flowing robe, a book in his left hand, and a skull near his feet. The skull is said to symbolize the five years of seclusion and prayer Jerome spent in the desert of Chalcis in modern day Syria. Jerome was a scholar and is most remembered for his translation of the Bible into Latin. The translation is known as the Vulgate. The statue is made of Kasota Limestone from Mankato Kasota Stone Inc.
Egisto Bertozzi was a prominent St. Paul stone carver with an international career similar to Joseph Kiselewski. You can read a biography of him, courtesy of St. James Lutheran Church in St. Paul.
Thanks to Barbara King and Tom Kouri for photographic assistance. Thanks to Ann M. Kenne, Victoria Young, and Marria Thompson, from St. Thomas, for research and editorial assistance.
These three sculptures were given by Joe to Juergen Rekus's family when Juergen was a child. The bust of the woman was given to Juergen when he celebrated his First Communion sometime in the late 1950s. The photo is of Juergen and Joe at that celebration at Juergen’s home in the Bronx.
The bust of the bearded man, which is signed by Joe, was called Moses by the Rekus family. Juergen speculates that the nude was part of the proposal that Joe made to the Worlds’ Fair to win the competition for his massive Worlds’ Fair time piece. A similar sculpture can be found in the collection of Joe’s work at American Heritage Bank in Browerville.
“I have had had contact with uncle Joe - as we called him - when we lived in the Bronx from 1956 to 1963. I was age 6 when we immigrated from Germany to the US and uncle Joe helped us to get settled in New York. My grandmother and uncle Joe are cousins,” Juergen writes. “I was born in 1950. We came to New York in 1956 from Germany. Joe was one of the two needed underwriters for receiving the green cards. He was a cousin of my Grandmother. Her maiden name was Wollny. She had many sisters and brothers. My ancestors lived on both sides of the German-Polish border before the war. When we arrived we lived a couple of days in his studio in New York. Then he managed to find an apartment in Fox Street in the Bronx for us and a Job for my father in a sweat shop called rec o cut. My mother worked in a beauty parlor then. We soon moved to a better neighborhood in the upper Bronx. We were very thankful for all the help Joe gave us. “