Archive for July, 2010
The entrance to Northwestern’s Patten Gym in Evanston, Illinois is flacked by two sculptures by Hermon MacNeil. The figures cast in 1916 for the first Patten Gymnasium were moved to the Second (New) Patten Gym in 1940. The two bronze castings depict a male athlete in victory and a female figure in academic pursuit entitled ‘Physical Development’ and ‘Intellectual Development’ respectively.
Northwestern students, however, have given them the ‘very punny’ nicknames of “Pat and Jim” or more colloquially, “Pat’nJim.” The similarity to “Patten Gym” is quite amusing. Such whimsy may have been known by MacNeil in his day. His choice of the ‘tortoise and the hare’ pair on the Supreme Court pediment document his own whimsy in stone. Let us all smile as well!
The figures appear to be about 9 feet tall. An on-site examination and photographs will be made on my next trip to Chicago area in several months.
Physical Development and Intellectual Development Link- Click on this link to Waymarking.com to view a five photo gallery with descriptions of the art posted by adqorn and silverquill in June 2009
The Northwestern University website states the history in the following manner:
In the building’s early years its entranceway was ornamented with pure gold plating, and in 1917 Patten commissioned artist Hermon MacNeil to design statuary appropriate to an atmosphere of athletic aspiration. MacNeil responded with bronze figures of a man and a woman. The statues have been known to generations of students by the fond nicknames of “Pat” and “Jim.” When in 1939 Northwestern planned the construction of the Technological Institute, it was clear that the Patten Gymnasium would have to be moved to accommodate the new engineering building. Subsequently a decision was made to demolish the structure and construct a new gymnasium, also to be named for James Patten. One of the most important events held in the building during its final year was the first NCAA basketball tournament, on March 27, 1939, where the University of Oregon Ducks beat the Ohio State Buckeyes by a score of 46-33.
The original Patten Gymnasium was razed on April 1, 1940. MacNeil’s statues were retained and today grace the entrance of the present Patten Gymnasium, dedicated during Homecoming on November 2, 1940.