Home | Experience the Arts | Public Art Directory | General Nathanial Lyon

Public Art

General Nathanial Lyon

By Erhardt Siebert
Category: Statue

About

General Lyon had an easier time keeping St. Louis from falling into Confederate hands than the statue honoring him has had keeping its rightful place in the public arena. One newspaper article even stated that the General would be better honored by the absence of the sculpture. The monument was poorly conceived and badly executed. It was originally planned for a $50,000 budget and had to be revised to fit the $15,000 that was raised; the artist was selected, sight-unseen, on the basis of a magazine article praising his work; then St. Louis University took both the site for which the sculpture was designed for their development of Mill Creek Valley, as well as the private bequest designated for the site acquisition.

The artist, whose father was a St. Louis physician, studied art at Washington University, then in Chicago. He opened a studio for a while in New York City, returned to St. Louis, and finally gave up art to become the supervisory photographer for Aeronautical Chart Plant. He repeatedly denied that the sculpture was bad, saying that it was along new lines that old-style advocates would not appreciate. Artistic criticism ranged from calling the work “unaesthetic” to “a crime” to one description referring to the familiar comedy of two people in a horse outfit moving in different directions.

The work was moved in 1960 to its current location in Lyon Park, where it joined the earlier monument to Lyon executed by Adolphus Druiding.

Dimensions: 22′ x 8′ x 6′
Year Completed: 1929
Material: Bronze and limestone
Owner: City of St. Louis
Donor: Lyon Monument Association and private donors


About the artist:

Arts and cultural events are waiting around every corner throughout the St. Louis region. Explore the abundant creativity our area has to offer. From gallery shows and performances to public installations, St. Louis is rich with culture and the arts in all forms. Browse these links to experience our arts community firsthand.

EXPLORE THE ARTS

Due to the ongoing financial impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) has been working diligently to adjust our annual grantmaking programs to ensure alignment with RAC’s strategic priorities, and in response to feedback from the arts community.

READ OUR MESSAGE

We have gathered a variety of news, information, and other resources to sustain the health and vibrancy of our arts community.

EXPLORE OUR RESOURCES

As the leading public catalyst for arts and culture in St. Louis, the Regional Arts Commission leverages the power of creativity to strengthen and enrich our community. Read our commitment to diversity, racial equity, accessibility, and inclusion, and see our strategic plan for the next five years.

LEARN MORE ABOUT RAC

Covid-19 has impacted us all. But what it hasn’t changed is RAC’s commitment to finding innovative ways to support arts programming, arts organizations, and individual artists through the pandemic, and to resuming these programs as soon as conditions allow.

VIEW ALL OUR INFORMATION RELATED TO COVID-19

Skip to content