Lorado Taft (April 29, 1860 to October 30, 1936) was an American sculptor born and bred in Illinois.  His family moved to Champaign from Elmwood, Illinois, when Taft was eleven, following his father's appointment as professor of Geology and Zoology at the University of Illinois. Taft completed his Bachelor's and Master's degrees at the University, in 1879 and 1888 respectively. Years later, he would return to teach art at the University.

Following his education in Champaign and Urbana, Taft went to Europe, where he studied École des Beaux Arts in Paris, one of the world's preeminent art schools. Upon his return to the United States, he taught for several years at the fledgling School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was affiliated with the University of Chicago. In addition to his extensive teaching responsibilities, he maintained a busy sculptural studio in the Chicago area. 

Taft continued working as a sculptor until shortly before his death at his Chicago home in October of 1936. While his artwork can be found throughout the country, with several prime examples in Chicago, the Champaign and Urbana area is replete with his works.

You can find several of his sculptures around town: 

Lincoln the Lawyer (1927), in Carle Park


The Alma Mater (1927) on campus at the corner of Green and Wright
"Daughter of Prrha" (1933), fragment of vast unfinished Fountain of Creation; located outside Main Library on campus  

The College of Fine and Applied Arts has a Lorado Taft Lectureship Fund:

"Since 1930, the Taft Lectureship Fund endowment has supported the intellectual mission of FAA. The Lorado Taft Lectureship on Art Committee awards modest funds to faculty members in the College of Fine and Applied Arts to sponsor lectures in the arts."1

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Works Cited

"Lorado Taft Lectureship on Art Guidelines," from the College of Fine and Applied Arts.