Million dollar sculptures

Believe it or not there are two Thomas Eakins statues sitting on the side of the road next to city hall. All but forgotten and in pieces, if the city sold them they might be able to pay the entire school budget next year. or not. Occasionally a visitor asks about them and is amazed that no one in the city seems to know anything about them…

“…no records exist for how the modeling was carried out, but given the time frame, it is logical that they were tackled individually, allowing a complete figure to be shipped to the foundry for firing while modeling was begun on the next. Having started in September 1896, Murray and Eakins were still at work on the sculptures in October 1897.
Murray’s and Calder’s statues were duly installed on the building, where they remained for the next sixty-three years. After the building was renovated in 1961 they were removed in the interest of pedestrian safety. Calder’s were preserved and later installed on the grounds of the Presbyterian Historical Society.
Eakins and Murray’s prophets, however, met a far stranger fate. Each was sold for $319, the cost of crating and shipping. Moses and Elijah were bought by Arthur Garrett of Skagway, Alaska, and eventually donated to a Catholic church there. The remaining eight became cemetery statuary in Frazier, Pennsylvania, where all but Samuel, as biographer Lloyd Goodrich noted, “fell prey to vandalism, weather or neglect.”
The partnership that began out of necessity for Eakins and desire to learn for Murray blossomed into a lifelong friendship. Eakins never publicly claimed co-authorship of the statues, suggesting that he wished both to promote Murray’s budding career and to protect him from any judgmental reaction among Philadelphians that the young sculptor had been ill-advised in his selection of a partner.”

From page 412 of the Revenge of Thomas Eakins by Sidney D. Kirkpatrick
Yale University Press, 2006