The Captain’s Return captures in bronze the historical figures Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and their Newfoundland dog, Seaman. The three-and-a-half-ton sculpture was commissioned to commemorate the bicentennial of the explorers’ return September 23, 2006. Installed on the riverfront, this project involved negotiations with six governmental agencies and the construction of a base and statue capable of withstanding the inevitable floodwaters of the Mississippi River. Depending on how high the water is, sometimes the statue is submerged in the river, making it look as if Lewis and Clark are just sailing in. The Federal Parks Department designated the monument a national Lewis and Clark site.
Weber states that it “took seven months of long hours to complete the structure in clay, make molds and… reassemble it like a giant jigsaw puzzle.” Each figure in The Captain’s Returnwas made in several different pieces; there were sixty pieces for the figure of Clark alone. According to Weber,
“I tried to depict how Lewis and Clark felt at that particular moment two hundred years ago when they came back. I think Lewis was a conflicted character. I think on his face you can see that while there is a note of triumph, there is also a note that says that perhaps the defining moments of his life are over. The last horizon he saw was that of the riverfront of St. Louis. Clark, on the other hand, I think, portrays what a soldier’s dream is: to be responsible. He went on to other challenges. I wanted people to see these statues as the portrayal of human beings and what magnificent accomplishments human beings can achieve if they are challenged and simply rise to the challenge.”
Year Completed: 2006
Owner: City of St. Louis