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:
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
- University of Illinois
- Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, which house several of Taft's works
- Para español, por favor vea la página sobre Lorado Taft, escultor.
- Lorado Taft biography from the Main Library at the University.
- Lorado Taft papers, accessible online via the Main Library
- Lorado Taft's Wikipedia page, with helpful external links
- College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois
- A discussion of Taft's sculpture Blind, which lives at the Krannert Museum in the Kinkead Pavilion.
- Alma Mater has her very own Wikipedia page!
- Lorado Taft bibliography, compiled in 2012, offers additional reading possibilities for those interested in this Illinois sculptor.
- Alma Mater is frequently in the news; as of fall 2013, she is undergoing extensive repairs, which may become an annual event. The Daily Illini offers us a discussion of her restoration (and future).
- École des Beaux Arts, the school Taft attended in Paris (and one of the world's preeminent art schools), has an English-language Wikipedia page for those interested, as well as its own page (in French).
- School of the Art Institute of Chicago also maintains, in its Ryerson and Burnham Library, an archival collection of Taft's works; these can be found and browsed here.
1 "Lorado Taft Lectureship on Art Guidelines," from the College of Fine and Applied Arts.