Sculptures in Lincoln Park/El Parque de Mexico

The text below is from a print publication entitled Lincoln Park (El Parque de Mexico); Statues and Sculptures, published by Urban Art Inc. The original publication was made possible through grants from the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of Los Angeles and Save Outdoor Sculpture!

Title: Florence Nightingale
Artist: David P. Edstrom
Date: 1937
Material: Cast Stone

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) raised nursing and medical care at British military hospitals while performing heroic and selfless duty during the Crimean War. She later established nursing schools and founded the nursing system in England, which became the model for the profession world-wide.

Jointly funded by the Works Progress Administration during the New Deal and by hospitals belonging to the Hospital Council of Southern California, this sculpture originally depicted Nightingale holding a lamp in her left hand while shielding the flame with her right hand. Since its dedication, however, the work has been attacked by graffiti, vandalism and paint. Her arms and nose were broken off and a descriptive plaque has been removed from the pedestal. In 1974, representatives from the California Hospital School of Nursing and the California Hospital Medical Center requested permission from the Municipal Arts Commission of the City of Los Angeles to move the statue from the park and place it in a secure setting where it could be repaired and saved. Both groups were encouraged by the Commission to collaborate in restoring the work in Lincoln Park. Though each nursing schools claimed they had funds for the project, neither school pursued the restoration effort and the statue has continued to deteriorate.

David P. Edstrom (1873-1938), born in Sweden, moved to the United States at age 7 with his family. He studied art in Europe prior to World War I. After the war, he settled in Los Angeles, where he executed portraits, allegorical figures and busts.


Title: Lincoln the Lawyer
Artist: Julia Bracken Wendt
Date: 1926
Material: Bronze

On July 4, 1926, nearly 1000 people attended the unveiling of this depiction of Lincoln (1809-1865) as a young lawyer. The portrait is based on a life mask by Leonard Volk as well as photographs taken at the time of Lincoln's first inauguration. Wendt wanted to show Lincoln as coming from the people, yet never loosing touch with them. "I tried to express quiet repose, rather than the dramatic or picturesque-the seer who realizes the sacrifice required, yet dares to do." The granite pedestal is inscribed with the closing words of the Gettysrburg Address.

List of sculptures of Abraham Lincoln from Durman's book "He Belongs to the Ages: The Statues of Abraham Lincoln.

Julia Bracken Wendt (1871-1942) studied under Lorado Taft in Chicago. Taft described her as having "abundant ingenuity and a well-characterized style of her own, recognizable for its decorative grace." Her allegorical work, The Three Graces: Art, Science and History (1914) can be seen in the rotunda of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. After moving to Los Angeles in about 1906, Wendt became the city's leading sculptor. She later taught at the Otis Art Institute and was a member of the city's Municipal Arts Commission.


Title: El Cura Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla
Artist: Efren de los Rios
Date: 1938
Material: Bronze

Fr. Hidalgo (1753-1811), who began Mexico's struggle for independence from Spain, is an important figure in the history of the state of California and the City of Los Angeles. After an uprising planned for December, 1810 was discovered by Spanish authorities, Hidalgo summoned his parish in the early morning of September 16 by ringing the church bells of his church in Dolores. In what is now called the Grito de Dolores, Hidalgo stirred the crowd to take up arms against Spanish domination. His untrained peasant army quickly defeated better armed and disciplined Spanish troops and conquered a number of cities, including Guanajuato. But after being defeated in January 1811, Hidalgo's army quickly disintegrated. Hidalgo was later captured and following a trial by the Inquisition, executed in Chihuahua. However, the revolution he began did not die but continued until Mexico, which included California, obtained its independence in 1821.


Title: Benito Juarez
Artist: Anonymous
Date: 1976
Material: Bronze with Resinous Fills

Benito Juarez (1806-1872) led the Liberal forces against the Conservatives during the War of Reform between 1858-1861. Elected for four terms as President, he resisted imperial control by France, improved education and transportation and established harmonious relations with foreign countries. During his first term, France imposed a puppet regime under Maximilian and Juarez moved his government to what is now the city of Juarez, across from El Paso along the Rio Grande. After the end of the United States Civil War, the United States pressured France to remove its troops from Mexico. Without military support, Maximilian was captured, tried and executed the following year. Juarez's third term as President is noted for advancing education, investing in the nation's infrastructure, and improving relations with foreign countries. Juarez was elected for a fourth term in 1871, but died from a stroke the following year.


Title: J. Jesus Gonzales Ortega
Artist: Ayda
Date: 1987
Material: Bronze

General Ortega (1822-1881), one of the important field commanders for the Liberal forces led by Juarez during the War of Reform, inflicted the final military defeat of the Conservatives shortly before Christmas, 1860. After General Zaragoza's death, Ortega led the Mexican army against France's imposition of the reign of Maximilian.


Title: General Ignacio Zaragoza
Artist: Francisco Zuniga
Date: 1981
Material: Bronze

General Zaragoza (1826-1862) one of the successful field commanders for the Liberals during the War of Reform (1858-1861), defeated the Conservatives led by the Catholic Church in a significant battle at Guadalajara. Zaragoza was later appointed minister of war in 1861 by Juarez, but resigned to command the Ejercito de Oriente (Eastern Army). As commander of this army, he defeated invading French forces at Puebla on May 5, 1862, adding Cinco de Mayo to Mexico's national holidays.

Francisco Zuniga (1912-) was born in San Jose, Costa Rica. After working two decades for the Mexican government creating monuments and memorials, he acquired an international reputation with a personal style and individual language. The monument to General Zaragoza and the one to Velarde were probably executed when Zuniga was employed by the government.


Title: Venustiano Carranza
Artist: Victor Gutierrez
Date: 1980
Material: Bronze

Venustiano Garranza (1859-1920 became the head of the Provisional government in 1914, after several years of political instability following the overthrow of the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz. Three years later, Carranza was elected the first President of the new Mexican Republic. But after failing to institute reforms spelled out in the new Constitution, he was overthrown and assassinated in 1920 in a coup led by Alvaro Obregon.


Title: Lazaro Cardenas del Rio
Artist: Ernesto E. Tamariz
Date: 1970 (Executed); 1989 (installed)
Material: Bronze

Lazaro Cardenas (1895-1970), President of Mexico between 1934-1940, implemented dramatic and long overdue reforms. He redistributed 45 million acres of land to peasants, nationalized the petroleum industry and reformed education. While these programs made Cardenas a hero to the agrarian and urban masses, he became an enemy of rich and influential Americans, particularly those in the oil industry.


Title: Ramon Lopez Velarde
Artist: Francisco Zuniga
Date: 1988
Material: Bronze

Ramon Lopez Velarde (1881-1921) was modern Mexico's greatest poet. He wrote personal and intimate poetry about Catholic provincialism, nationalism and internal conflicts. His most popular poem, La Suave Patria was written in 1921 to commemorate the Centennial of Mexican Independence.


Title: Pancho Villa
Artist: Anonymous
Date: ca. 1980
Material: Bronze

Pancho Villa (1878?-1923) helped overthrow the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz in 1911. Villa initially supported the Provisional President, Venustiano Carranza, but turned against him because he failed to initiate needed reforms. Attempting to embarrass Carranza, Villa "executed" several U.S. citizens in Mexico and then attacked Columbus, a border town in New Mexico. President Woodrow Wilson sent General Pershing on what was called the "Punitive Expedition" into the state of Chihuahua to capture him. However, after evading capture by the United States Army, Villa's reputation soared. Though he left politics in 1920, Villa was assassinated in 1923.


Title: Emiliano Zapata
Artist: Ignacio Asunsolo
Date: 1980
Material: Bronze on concrete base with fountain

From 1910 until he was assassinated by agents of Venustiano Carranza, Emiliano Zapata (1879-1919) led a peasant army in southern Mexico. Honored and remembered for establishing the foundation of Mexico's agrarian land policy. Zapata formed cooperatives and redistributed land confiscated earlier by large landowners during the reign of Porfirio Diaz.

Ignacio Asunsolo (1890-1965), born in Parral, Chihuahua, was one of Mexico's most important sculptors of monuments. In addition to this $386,000 monument to Zapata, which was donated to Los Angeles by the people of Mexico City, Asunsolo executed a similar one for Huipulco, D. F. His most famous work was the large monument to Miguel Aleman at the University of Mexico, which was dynamited twice during the student unrest in 1968.


Title: Agustin Lara
Artist: Humberto Peraza
Date: 1984
Material: Bronze

Agustin Lara (1900-1970), born in Mexico City, was a member of Pancho Villa's personal guard. During the 1920's, Lara became a popular cabaret performer and achieved national fame through his radio broadcasts. As a composer, Lara wrote approximately 7000 songs and an operetta. He received many honors and has been memorialized by statuary throughout Mexico.

Humberto Peraza (1925-), born in Merida, Yucatan, has completed numerous public monuments and statuary throughout Mexico.


Title: Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon
Artist: Julian Martinez
Date: 1980
Material: Bronze

Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon (1765-1815), a parish priest like Hidalgo, became the leader of the independence movement against Spain following the execution of Fr. Hidalgo. Under his leadership, a Declaration of Independence was drafted in 1813 by the first National Congress. Two years later, Morelos was captured, tried and executed.


Title: Emperor Cuauhtemoc
Artist: Anonymous
Date: 1981
Material: Bronze

Emperor Cuauhtemoc (1502?-1525) is honored and remembered, not only for being the last Aztec ruler, but also for his resistance to Hernan Cortes and the Spanish conquest. After the death of Moctezuma in 1520, the Aztecs defeated Cortes and pushed the invading Spanish forces out of Tenochtitlan. Ciutlahuac, a nephew of Moctezuma, was appointed leader of the Aztecs but his death a few months later during a smallpox epidemic, led to the succession of Cuauhtemoc, who was another nephew of Moctezuma. As the last Aztec emperor, Cuauhtemoc defended the capital, Tenochtitlan, during the final assault by Cortes. After the capital fell in August, 1521, Cuauhtemoc was captured, imprisoned for four years, and then executed. This monument is similar, but not identical to a larger late 19th century monument to Cuauhtemoc that can be seen in the Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City.


Title: Dona Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez
Artist: Velarco
Date: 1994 Executed; 1996 Installed
Material: Bronze

Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez (1768-1829) was one of the initial supporters of the struggle for Mexican independence from Spain. After hearing that the Spanish authorities were planning to arrest Fr. Hidalgo because of his leadership in a planned uprising scheduled for December, Dona Josefa sent a messenger to warn him. In the early hours of the following morning, September 16, 1810, Hidalgo roused his parish by ringing the bells of his church of Dolores, stirred the crowd with his Grito de Dolores and began the struggle for Mexican independence. The bust of Dona Josefa was donated by the Government of Queretaro, Mexico.


Title: Guadalupe Victoria
Artist: Unknown
Date: 1997
Material: Bronze

Guadalupe Victoria (1786-1843), acknowledging the Virgin of Guadalupe as the symbol of the insurgents against Spain, changed his name from Manuel Felix Fernandez after joining the struggle for independence. During the revolution, Victoria conducted guerilla warfare near Veracruz and Puebla. After Mexico won its independence in 1821, Victoria supported President Augustin de Iturbe but then opposed him when he arrested political opponents. Victoria later became Mexico's first elected President, serving between 1824-1829. During his presidency, Mexico was organized as a federation of states. This arrangement gave La Pueblo de Los Angeles, which has a population of about 700 and was Alta California's largest non-Native American settlement, a great deal of political autonomy. With the dedication of the bust of Victoria on December 4, 1996, El Parque de Mexico now has commemorative statuary linking the history of Mexico from the start of its revolt against Spain through the beginning of its independence.


Image of the Bell of Dolores, Lincoln Park/Parque de Mexico

Image of the main statue section in the park

Mario Aguirre Uriarte, Cuauhtemoc (Descending Eagle), 1992. Mural at 3500 N. North Main Street. Detail of the corn and cactus; detail of the descending eagle.


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