Lewis and Clark Expedition

Submitted by Harry Weber

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Client: The Drury Plaza Hotel

Location: St. Louis Park, MO, United States

Completion date: 2001

Project Team

Artist

Harry Weber

Bronze Fox Studio

Artist

Peter Engelsmann

Landscape Architect

Todd Runquist

West Winds Earthscaping

Industry Resource

Vlad Zhitomirsky

VMD Sculpting

Overview

This grouping depicts the Lewis and Clark Expedition at the point it had reached the White Cliffs region in Montana in Late May 1805. It is forty feet long twelve feet high and twelve feet deep. It consists of a sixty foot mural surrounding the entire piece and a forty foot water feature with eight life sized bronze figures of humans and animals placed within it.

Goals

The Drury Plaza Hotel was to be the flagship hotel for the Drury chain. It is a complete restoration of the old Fur Exchange Building near the riverfront in St. Louis, MO. The desire of the Drury Corp. was to have a striking representation of the Lewis and Clark Expedition within the lobby of this elegant hotel to show its link to the history of the immediate area. Since the Hotel was opened very close to the two hundredth anniversary of the Expedition, this was considered particularly appropriate. It would be the first thign guests would see when they entered the building and would make an indelible impression of their stay.

Process

Since the hotel was already open and the Drury Corp. did not want any services disrupted. All work on the diorama was conducted behind a false wall in the lobby. Master plasters form Drury Corp. prepared the mural surface. A small four foot access panel was cut in the side wall of the hotel so that forty tons of rock could be loaded in place to make the water feature. This necessitated the installation of a temporary loading rail by master iron workers. The mural was painted after the water feature was completed. Fiberglass impressions of the rocks in place were taken and used as the bases for armatures for the bronze figures so that they would fit seamlessly on the rocks. The bronzes were created by the leading artist of the team (Harry Weber) and installed on the rock surfaces. The temporary wall was removed and the entire diorama was revealed.

Additional Information

This project represents a true collaboration of artists and craftsmen. The work was completed within an incredibly short nine month time-frame only because each party worked in such close understanding of the others needs. In concept it was a very difficult work to execute, but it was a joy for all concerned who took such delight in their work together.