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The Original Life Magazine Building.
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Philip's Martiny's Winged LIFE


The figure of LIFE at the top of this week's cover is from the statue by Mr. Martiny that will, in another week or two, survey the passing crowd from his niche over the entrance to our new building. It is one of the most artistic figures that this distinguished sculptor has created. Although more than twice the size of life, it is a graceful, easy pose, with spirit and vitality in every line. This figure is a fitting climax to the originality and exquisite taste that Messrs. Carrere and Hastings have lavished upon the building.

May 24 1894 – LIFE magazine    Volume XXIII   Number 595

Winged Life @ Herald Sq Hotel.jpg
Winged Life above the Entrance at The Herald Square Hotel

From research on Philip Martiny.
It is a picture of the plaster cast
of Winged LIFE in his studio.
( Circa 1882 )



From the Pages of Life Magazine May, 1883

A few days ago the publishers of LIFE, on entering their office, received a surprise that will never be forgotten. Upon a pedestal in the centre of the large room was a veiled figure, and about it, in a friendly circle, were gathered the artists, the writers and those of all the professions and trades that are represented in the production of this journal. The veil was drawn, and they found themselves facing an exquisite bronze figure of a winged Life, by Martiny. The words of presentation were few but graceful, and the two publishers, taken by surprise, realized they were the recipients of a beautiful work of art, and more important, of a priceless expression of the kind wishes of their associates.

There are somethings in this life sweeter than fame, and more precious than prosperity. Something akin to the highest happiness exists in heads and hearts that work together with perfect trust and sincere affection.



It is needless to say that this was one of those occasions where the ordinary expressions of gratitude were far too weak. The statue will always hold the place of honor in this our temple of Truth and Wisdom, for it represents the friendship of our friends.



A HAPPY DAY

We hope, and believe--that the relations between LIFE's contributors and himself are exceptionally friendly and congenial. This belief, that his affection for his co-workers is reciprocated--at least in a measure-is strengthened by the unfading memory of a certain afternoon in October, 1894.

On that memorable day Mr. Miller and I went to lunch, as usual, with no suspicion of what awaited us. When lunch was over, and a movement was made as for departure, Mr. Metcalfe gave some reason for sitting longer at the table--a reason which impressed me at the moment as being unduly ambiguous and inconsequential. But it served. So we continued to sit. Mr Metcalfe, in the meantime, disappeared.

On reaching the office some minutes later, we were surprised at finding a score or more of our regular contributors seated in a circle, in the center of which stood a bronze statue of LIFE, by Martiny. This statue was a reproduction in bronze of the stone figure over the main entrance of our building, done by the same sculptor. The surprise was certainly complete.

Mr. Metcalfe, as spokesman for those assembled, presented the statue in a few words, and very pleasant words they were for LIFE to hear. They bore good wished and the expression on the part of our contributors of that affection and confidence which LIFE, in his turn has always felt toward the donors of that more than welcome gift. The bronze boy himself, a figure, of exceptional beauty and artistic value, has, ever since that day, held the place of honor in our temple.


Early into my research for the Herald Square Hotel, formerly the Life (Magazine) Building, I found several references to a bronze statue that was a replica of "Winged Life" over the entrance. It had been presented to John Ames Mitchell and Andrew Martin in October of 1894. I discovered a couple of articles describing the presentation as well as a picture of "Winged Life" aka "Our Boy". One day when I was giving information to the owner of the Hearld Square Hotel (originally constructed as the Life Building) I said I believed the bronze replica had to be in existence. We did a bit of searching on the web and through some old-fashioned letter writing. It didn1t even generate any leads.

In the fall of 2002 we began to rejuvenate our interest on several angles of the history of the magazine. I began to do work upgrading and revisiting all the artists that worked for "Life". The owner of the hotel began to undertake some major renovations to bring new life to the Hotel.

We talked about and searched for the sculpture for nearly 7 years. On December 24, 2002 Abe, the HSH owner received a message from a gentleman in South Carolina who claimed to have the bronze statue. He wanted to return it to the Life Building for a very modest sum of money. After all that searching--"winged Life" asked us to bring him home.

Our harbinger of this great news is a relative of Claire Maxwell, the last owner of Life Magazine before it was sold to the Time-Life Corporation in 1936. When the sale was complete, it did not include the statue. Mr. Maxwell kept the statue in his family. It moved from New York City to St. Augustine, Florida and was passed from father to son. The current owners decided that rather than sell it outside the family it should be returned to its original temple of love and friendship. It will soon welcome each and every guest to the Herald Square Hotel--a hotel with a special, deep, rich history.


From their Backyard
"Winged LIFE"
Bronze-
Green Patina
Three Feet High
Weighs About 360 Pounds
"Winged Life" by Philip Martiny
Our "Winged Life" Statue in our Refurbished Lobby
"Winged Life" by Philip Martiny
Our Newly Restored "Winged Life"
Statue
by Philip Martiny
in our Refurbished Lobby

Back to History


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