CM: Frances Rich's present work is her first take in marble for the bust of the Army & Navy Nurse memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia. Rich commissioned stonecutter Giovanni Garatti - who had carved Milles' Vision of Peace of 1936, the world's largest figure carved in onyx, displayed at Saint Paul City Hall in Minneapolis, Minnesota - to carve the marble block based on her plaster model. However, instead of using the stonecutter's point system, which is tedious but accurate, Garatti "put some of his own interpretations" [inscriben by Rich at the rear of a related photograph], which in effect caused the bust to become too narrow for the rest of the figure. Therefore, Rich commissioned instead Parke Hanner, who successfully carved the final version in Detroit. This change necessitated forwarding the date of dedication at Arlington. The 305cm figure of pink Tennessee marble designed by Rich, herself a high-ranking naval officer, was dedicated to the army and navy nurses who had given their lives in the line of duty. It represents the archetype of a war nurse standing above its beholders and gazing with maternal affection upon them. Rich said: "In my Army & Navy Nurse I have tried to portray a quality I love, which is compassion with strength" [Jacqueline Van Voris 1971, p.45]. In many respects, this memorial is Rich's successful attempt to objectify values that are built over generations through history and tradition. The statue stands on a hill in Section 21 of Arlington Cemetery, near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, on the only plot in the cemetery reserved for military nurses. Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee (1864-1940), who is buried in Section 1, was a leader in the movement of commissioning this memorial. As its plaque records: "This monument was unveiled on 8 November 1938 and rededicated in 1971 to commemorate devoted service to country and humanity by army, navy and air force nurses." An archival photograph from the unveiling ceremony shows, from the left, Miss Ida Hube, who sponsored the project and served from 1906 to 1910 as an army nurse; Irene Rich, mother of the designer; and Frances Rich, the designer who is placing a wreath.
[Megakles Rogakos 01/2009]
ARMITAGE, MERLE The Sculpture of Frances Rich 1974 Manzanita Press
VAN VORIS, JACQUELINE Interview with Frances Rich 14/11/1971 The Frances L. Rich Archives, Payson, AZ
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Frances Rich - La Gazelle 2010 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens