Client: Association of Granduates (AOG) West Point Academy
Location: 698 Mills Road, West Point, United States
Completion date: 2019
Artwork budget: $245,000
The Mussi Artworks Foundry
Paula B. Slater, M.A.
Paula Slater Sculpture
The General Ulysses S. Grant Monument is a 7-1/2 high full-figure bronze portrait installed upon a 4-1/2 high solid granite base in it's own granite courtyard at the United States Military Academy at West Point, West Point, New York. This portrait of Grant was requested by the U.S. Congress and it has been thirty six years since a statue has been commissioned for placement on the “Plain” (parade field) at the Academy.
The location of this Monument is between the General Sedgwick and the General Thayer Monuments. Both of these portraits are quite old and very regal. It was important to the West Point Museum curators that the Grant Monument also have this aged appearance and stature.Thus I sculpted Grant as a deeply thoughtful man as he is looking into the distance. Viewing this portrait gives one a feeling of our long history and the important individuals who have served this nation.
I worked closely with Sherman Fleek, the Academy’s Command Historian and the curators of the West Point Museum. My task was to accurately depict Grant as a Four Star General before he became our 18th U.S. President. His uniform and all the accompanying accoutrements are highly detailed and finely finished. I first submitted a detailed design sketch of my concept for this Monument to West Point. I wanted Grant to be standing tall with his riding gloves in his right hand and his favorite sword in his left hand. This concept was approved by the powers that be at West Point. I set to work sculpting the portrait and supplied high resolution digital in-progress photographs. I was involved in all phases of bronze casting process and patina, choosing the granite and overseeing the installation.
I did a great deal of research before beginning this portrait and wanted to capture Grant’s anguish, his heroism and his humility. Imbued in this portrait of Grant is the torturous weight of life and death decisions he was required to make. It is this glimpse into his deeply enduring humanity that I hope inspires and stays with the viewer.