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Public Art

Apotheosis of Saint Louis

By Charles H. Niehaus
Category: Statue


The original plaster model of the statue of the Crusader King, Louis IX of France, stood at the main entrance to the 1904 World’s Fair (where the History Museum now is located). The statue stands as a symbol of Christianity, the Crusading spirit, and the strength and vitality of the City of St. Louis.

After the Fair, the Louisiana Exposition Committee decided to have the sculpture re-cast and presented as a permanent gift to the City. The Committee approached Niehaus, who offered to cast it in bronze for $90,000, a price so high that the project was cancelled. H.R. Hodges, a local firm, offered to do it for $37,500.12. The artist protested and sued for ownership rights, but the commission accepted the Hodges offer and the statue was replicated. Seven months after the dedication of the new gift, the artist was awarded $3,000 in payment with the stipulation that the pedestal be inscribed “Designed by C.H. Niehaus.”

For many years, Apotheosis of St. Louis was used as the symbol of the City, until it was displaced by the Gateway Arch. It currently stands in front of the entrance to the St. Louis Art Museum.

Dimensions: 27′ x 15′ x 10′
Year Completed: 1903
Material: Bronze with granite pedestal
Owner: City of St. Louis
Donor: Louisiana Exposition Company

*Photo Courtesy of Forest Park Forever.

About the artist:

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