<font color="#808080">PROCTOR, A. Phimister</font>

More A. Phimister Proctor:    Sculpture 

(1860 - 1950 )

Born in Ontario, Canada, Alexander Proctor became known primarily as a sculptor of life-size wild animals, especially ones inhabiting the West, although he also did pen and ink drawings, etchings, small oil paintings, and sculptures of historical subjects.

One of "the best-known monuments in the nation is the 'Pioneer Mother' monument in Kansas City" (Reynolds 220), which is Proctor's over-life size sculpture tribute to pioneer women. He often traveled into the Pacific Northwest for subject matter, and on one of his westward treks, the idea for this work came to him when he saw a trapper and a hunter walking beside a pioneer woman riding sidesaddle on a horse loaded with family belongings. The piece was commissioned by Kansas City businessman Howard Vanderslice who saw Proctor's preliminary sketches for the piece. To execute the work, Proctor took a large studio at the Academy in Rome, and "Pioneer Mother" was unveiled on November 11, 1927.

At age four, Proctor moved with his family from Canada to Iowa in a prairie schooner, and as a young man, did a lot of hunting and trapping in the western United States. In 1881, he first traveled to California. Six years later, he headed East for New York City to get art training and studied at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design, and then took further study in Paris at Academie Colarossi.

His travels in the West took him to the Rocky Mountains where he became a hunting friend of Major John Pitcher, who became superintendent of Yellowstone Park. In 1907, Pitcher was under pressure to decrease the cougar population of the Park. He rescued one of the cats, affectionately known as Yellowstone Pete, by sending it back to the Bronx in New York to Proctor whose studio was in a huge space that allowed him to work in large scale from live models. Proctor had Yellowstone Pete housed at the Bronx Zoo and then tried to model from him. But the cougar was so uncooperative that Proctor finally took the animal to his farm near Bedford, New York where Proctor was able to complete the sculpture, "Panther with Kill", 1907.

During most of his career, he had a studio in New York City, but from 1919, he also had one in Palo Alto, California, where he died at the home of his sister in 1950.

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