Artist: Lion, Henry
Title: Don Felipe de Neve
Location: Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles (across from Olvera Street)
Owner: El Pueblo de Los Angeles Monument, 213-628-7164. 845 N. Alameda St. Los Angeles, CA 90012
Date of Manufacture: 1931
Date of Installation: March 12, 1932
Foundry or Fabrication: Unknown
Dimensions: Sculpture: H: 7'4" x W: 3' x D: 1'4". Base: H: 1'6" x W: 4'5" x D: 4'
Plaque: Two Plaques: one on the front of the stone base, one on the proper left side of the stone base
Inscriptions: Front Plaque (text in English and Spanish): Felipe de Neve 1728-84/Spanish governor of the Californias 1775-82/In 1781 on the orders of King Carlos III of Spain, Felipe de/Neve selected a site near the River Porciuncula and laid/out the town of El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles/one of two Spanish pueblos he founded in Alta California. Side plaque: Don Felipe de Neve/Founder of El Pueblo de Nuestra/Senora la Reina de Los Angeles/September 4, 1781/Erected in commemoration of the 150th anniversary by/California Parlor no. 247/Native Daughters/of the Golden West/Henry Lion-Sculptor
Siting: The sculpture is mounted on a natural rock pedestal on a concrete and brick plaza. A large ficus tree is planted in a raised bed approximately ten feet from the sculpture. The branches of the tree completely overhang the sculpture. It is in the shade during most of the day. A sprinkler is located directly behind the sculpture, which most likely sprays it with water containing mineral salts. There are cracks in the concrete caused by root invasion. These roots will most likely lift the sculpture in the future. Birds roost on the tree branches and top surfaces of the sculpture. The plaza is intensely used by the public. Many school children and tourists sit around and hold onto the sculpture during much of the day.
Description: The figure of Don Felipe de Neve is depicted in an idealized fashion, standing with his feet apart, looking over his left shoulder. He is wearing the cape, high boots, and gloves of an 18th Century Spanish officer, known as soldados de cuera (soldiers of leather). He is holding a helmet in his left arm, and his right arm reaches down along his side.
The sculpture is hollow cast bronze. It was originally patinated with a brown chemical patina. It is welded onto a shallow bronze plinth, which is mounted on a natural rock pedestal.
The rock pedestal is most likely the original base of the sculpture. The figure was first located in a fountain at the center of the plaza, where De Neve is presumed to have originally stuck his sword in the ground to found El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles in 1781 (LA Times 4/27/31). It was intended for De Neve to be stepping across boulders in the fountain, as a pioneer of the Southwest (LA Times, 3/16/31). The fountain was created in 1873 at the location of the first waterworks. The water was to be kept running in the fountain forever as a historical tribute to De Neve (LA Times 9/22/30)