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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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In Milwaukee Buzz

A partially hirsute and partially balding Father Marquette. (PHOTO: Josh Hertzog)

In Milwaukee Buzz

Sculptor Ron Knepper poses with his creation. (PHOTO: Josh Hertzog)

In Milwaukee Buzz

Workers install the new sculpture on the Marquette campus. (PHOTO: Josh Hertzog)

Marquette honors namesake with new sculpture


In an effort to keep alive the history behind Marquette University's namesake, Father Jacques Marquette, a sculpture was created in his honor and placed on the university's campus, behind the Raynor Memorial Library, 1355 W. Wisconsin Ave.

The bronze sculpture, which stands eight feet, two inches tall and weighs between 2,500 and 3,000 pounds, displays the rugged 17th century French, Jesuit missionary and explorer, known for his explorations with French trader Louis Joliet. It was installed on Tuesday.

According to the sculptor, Ron Knepper, a Fort Wayne, Ind. native who currently resides in New York and teaches at Parsons School of Design, it wasn't an easy project, due to the scarcity of Father Marquette portraits to work from.

"There were some images of him with long hair and images of him as bald, so I incorporated both with the sculpture," says Knepper. "I wanted him to be rugged-looking, but a charismatic person as well."

"It was almost a two-year project," adds Knepper.

Dr. Toby Peters, who chaired the sculpture committee, is very excited about what the sculpture signifies.

"It creates a wonderful image people will associate with Marquette," says Peters. "It's not a statue. It's a sculpture that tells a dynamic story."

Dr. Curtis L. Carter, director of the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette and the man responsible for finding and recommending the artist to the committee, shares Peters' feelings.

"The sculpture helps to define the identity of the relationship (with the university)," says Carter. "It adds a meaningful work of art to visit."

Marquette will dedicate the sculpture on Friday, Sept. 23 at 11:30 a.m. to students, staff, alumni and friends at a ceremony honoring the artist and donors. The Marquette Band will perform and a luncheon will follow.

Talkbacks

OMCreader | Nov. 1, 2005 at 5:40 p.m. (report)

claybender said: Art is a language. Obviously it is a work of art as it is receiving feedback. I saw the artist the work really looks nothing like him. He is robust and his nose is like Bob Hope's. The sculpture is lean with a french/roman nose. Nice work, very energetic!

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OMCreader | Sept. 24, 2005 at 12:00 p.m. (report)

Arteyes said: Cry and whine defenders of Marquette. There's a difference between taking pride on one's school and being fascist! No need to get all emotional... "Don't talk sentimental it always ends up drivel." Like the toilet paper Jesus and that copper crap near the union, MU needs better art! Sigh...but no, anything MU does it right. Except for the mascot that is...At any rate, the sculpture is ugly, it ruins the beauty of the Chapel. Nuff said.

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OMCreader | Sept. 21, 2005 at 8:39 p.m. (report)

mke gal said: I agree that artist used himself as model for hair, and otherwise looks alot like Hemingway! Nice sculpture, tho, from what I can see...

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OMCreader | Sept. 21, 2005 at 3:05 p.m. (report)

Fr. Thomas said: The face of the sculpoture looks to be very similar to the sculptor himself.

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OMCreader | Sept. 21, 2005 at 1:10 p.m. (report)

MU fan said: Artieyes is clearly a dimwit who has little if any knowledge on the suject of Art or MU for that matter. This a great addition to a great campus. Well done.

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