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Artist - Carl Milles
Born - 1875
Died - 1955
Origin - Sweden
Year Built - 1945
About the Artist: Born Carl Wilhelm Andersson, Milles apprenticed with a cabinet maker and a woodworker in his native Sweden before moving to Paris in 1897. Milles worked with sculptor Auguste Rodin during his seven-year sojourn; the former found the expressive surfaces of the latter's work particularly appealing. Milles returned to Sweden in 1906 where he not only received his first public commission but also earned a membership to the Royal Academy of Art. He was later appointed Professor of Modeling to the Academy in 1920. Although Milles was well respected in Sweden, he was little known outside the country until a 1927 exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London. In 1931, Milles emigrated to the United States where he was appointed the head of sculpture at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan.
Genius, 1945, was developed from a small clay study, dating from around 1938. Originally, the sculpture was intended as a monument to the dramatist August Strindberg but in 1939 the project failed to come to fruition. That same year, a Danish group commissioned the project as a tribute to Scandinavian actor Gosta Ekman. As an allegorical figure for artistic inspiration, the winged lyre player of Genius invites comparison to Milles's earlier Orpheus Fountain, 1936 (Stockholm). The Wichita State University Genius is an authorized posthumous casting from the artist's estate at Millesgarden.