biographie de Benjamin Paul AKERS (1825-1861)

Birth place: Sacoarapa, Westbrook, ME

Death place: Philadelphia

Profession: Sculptor, painter, and author

Studied: worked in his father's wood-turning shop in Maine; with Joseph Carew, Boston, 1849

Work: McLellan-Sweat House, Portland, Maine; Supreme Court Building, Washington.

Comments: Neoclassical sculptor. Active in Portland (ME) in 1850. In December 1852 he traveled to Italy, settling in Florence for one year. On his return to the U.S. in 1853, he concentrated on making portrait busts and medallions. On a second visit, 1855-57, he traveled to Italy, Switzerland, France, and England, eventually settling in Rome where he became part of the expatriate community of artists and writers that included Nathanial Hawthorne, Thomas Crawford, and William Wetmore Story. In Rome, Akers turned his attention to the subject matter of literature and the bible, and produced what would become his most famous work, The Dead Pear Diver," which won him recognition and praise from his contemporaries. Already in poor health, Akers returned to America but made a third trip to Europe in 1859. He died in Philadelphia at 36 years of age. Hawthorne's lead character, Kenyon, in "The Marble Faun" was partly modeled after the sculptor. Paul Akers, as he signed himself, also contributed art essays and criticism to various magazines and newspapers.

Sources: G&W; CAB; DAB; 7 Census (1850), Me., IV (3), 86; Fairman, Art and Artists of the Capitol, 371-72; "Maine Artists"; Gardner, Yankee Stonecutters,60; Cowrey, NAD; Rutledge, PA. More recently, see Baigell, Dictionary. "

Réserves Légales