John Gregory Archive

Alt text: Bronze sculpture of Philomela from Greek mythology, kneeling with wings growing from her back

John Gregory
American 1879-1958
Philomela, 1922
Bronze, Dark Brown patina
12 ¼ H. x 8 ½ W. x 3 ½ D. inches.
Signed: John Gregory / 1922 © / No. 19
Inscribed: Roman Bronze Works N-Y-
Titled on Base: Philomela

In Greek mythology, the gods transformed Philomela into a swallow and her sister Procne into a nightingale. Gregory, however, conformed to later interpretations of the myth and depicted the partially draped Philomela becoming a nightingale, growing highly decorative wings. The crouching figure, posed with remarkable torsion, is rhythmic and stylized, recalling the archaic Greek works admired by Gregory, Paul Manship, and other early-twentieth-century sculptors. The symmetry and frontality of this sculpture may be explained by the installation of the original lifesize Philomela against a garden wall at the estate of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, in Westbury, Long Island.

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