Robert Ingersoll Aitken
Bronze, dark brown patina
20 h. x 11 w. x 8 d. inches
Signed on base: AITKEN
Brothers-in-Arms was commissioned in 1920 by the New York City chapter of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, and sold by subscription to the 25 then active chapters in the US and Canada, of which Aitken himself was a member. It is a memorial to the 93 Alpha Delta Phi fraternity members who died in WWI, and shows a wounded American and Canadian officer assisting one another off of the battlefield. This cast comes from a private estate in Canada, presumably from a member of the one inactive chapter in Ontario.
Born in San Francisco, California, Robert Aitken became a noted sculptor who spent most of his career teaching at the National Academy of Design in New York City. He has done numerous portraits, full size and bust, of well known figures, and his work is in many collections and museums including the Smithsonian Institution and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
For his early study, he was a painting pupil of Arthur Mathews and Douglas Tilden at the Mark Hopkins Institute and by the time he was age 18, he had his own studio. In 1897, he studied briefly in Paris, where influences turned him to sculpture.
He taught at the Hopkins Institute until 1904 and was awarded some of the premier sculpture commissions including monuments to the Navy and to President McKinley in Golden Gate Park. In 1904, he returned to Paris for three more years and then settled in New York City where he was a long-time teacher at the National Academy of Design.