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Cornelia Chapin home movies
The Archives of American Art is sharing some of the home movies from its collections to celebrate Home Movie Day 2014. Cornelia Chapin (1893-1972) was a sculptor from Lakeville, Conn. and New York, N.Y. who specialized in sculptures of animals, which she created in stone and wood using a method known as direct-carving from life. She learned this technique from her teacher Mateo Hernandez, with whom she began studying in Paris in 1934. While there, she often worked at the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne, and the zoological park in the Bois de Vincennes. Working off of her sculpture cart, she could move her material and tools to various exhibits and carve from her observations of living animals. In the late 1930s, Chapin and Marion Sanford became companions, and shared the former studio of Gutzon Borglum, sculptor of Mount Rushmore. In an interview conducted in 1952 in conjunction with the dedication of her sculpture "Bear" at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, Chapin recalled that her friend—likely Hernandez—had obtained a baby bear cub from a gypsy, and this bear served as the model for the sculpture. Chapin’s home movies from Paris show a cub romping through the studio with both her and Hernandez. This was Chapin’s first sculpture to be placed in a zoo. These home movies consist of nine film reels reels from the papers of Marion Sanford and Cornelia Chapin (1929-1988) held by the Archives of American Art. The film reels were transferred to VHS videocassette, from which this digital copy was made.
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1 hr 11 min 29 sec
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Archives of American Art