Home | Experience the Arts | Public Art Directory | Meeting of the Waters

Public Art

Meeting of the Waters

By Carl Milles
Category: Fountain

About

On a sunny day a rainbow may be viewed arching through the many jets and sprays that animate the full basin of figures that comprise Carl Milles’ Meeting of the Waters. The joyous sounds of splashing water rushing over the frolicking figures create a spirit of the dance, a presence that is as enlivening today as it was upon its installation. Exuberant, Meeting of the Waters is a figurative allegorical depiction of the Mississippi River, represented by the male figure, and the Missouri River, represented by the female figure. The water sprites, mermaids, and fish symbolize the seventeen main tributaries that enter into the two rivers.

In this sculpture Milles used bronze and water as the primary sculptural elements. At the same time, he allowed for the presence and interaction of air currents and sunlight to play upon the water and figures as a way of maintaining spontaneity. His fountain design included layouts for the systems of jets, to details of piping dimensions as controls of water velocity and patterns. The plaza is the result of an eleven year effort of Mrs. Louis Aloe to honor her late husband, who was a businessman and former president of the board of aldermen. She commissioned Milles, who presented his model titled Marriage of the Waters. Members of the Municipal Arts Commission objected to the nude bride and groom. The media pursued and caused a public outcry, even going so far as to publish a ballot for voting for or against “nudes for the plaza.” Finally, the title of the work was changed to Meeting of the Waters, and the now-beloved landmark was unveiled in 1940.

Dimensions: 15′ x 280′ x 75′
Year Completed: 1931-39
Material: Bronze and granite
Owner: City of St. Louis
Donor: Mrs. Louis Aloe, Howard Baer, public 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