Another Sioux leader is calling for the removal of heads. I just discovered that Gutzan Borglum was commissioned to do Stone Mountain, but, his swelled head got him fired by the Klu Klux Klan who wanted to create a Confederate Vortex where the best ideals of the Confederacy will survive – forever!
My kin, Jessie Benton Fremont, was Gutzan’s ART PATRON. He did bust of Jessie whose father’s name was removed from a building at Oregon State. As the Benton Historian, who is kin to Robert E. Lee and other famous Confederates, and because there are famous Benton Artists, I hereby declare myself the Historic Protector of these monuments. I demand my case be heard! This is a Art Matter.
My muse, Mary, looks like she is a direct descendant of Chief Little Crow – whose ancestors could perhaps be traced to Guatemala? We met on facebook chat, she said hello to me. In forty minutes she proposes marriage, and says she wants to give me babies. Would we be a mixed-race couple? I think of Consuela in the movie Zardoz, because her motives may not be pure. Does she want citizenship in the Land of the Free – that lie beyond the Great Gate of Donald who has established a Great White Vortex that Mary is determined to pernitrate? She looks like Melania Trump who became a citizen by marrying the future President – who suggests his head be put on Mount Rushmore. Of course I had to consider if Mary would off me after our wedding – and before we consummate our loving bond. We told each other many time….”I love you!”…Does she want her people’s land back?
When I created Miriam (Mary) Starfish Christling I was puzzled why I dressed her like Shena of the Jungle. With the coming of my Muse Mary, I know for sure ‘The Royal Janitor’ is a psychic novel. To render Victoria Bond as a sculptress, is a glimpse into the future.
If the Stone Mountain monument is to be removed, I will submit my vision for a replacement……HER GREAT WHITE LUST! My relief will be very similar to the great pic of Charlotte Rampling exposing her backside. I will have Mary pose for me. She will have to dye her hair blond. I want Borglum’s temple to the White Goddess of Lust with reflecting pool, that will replicate Stackpole’s Pacifica that was used as target practice by the Navy. Of course there will be shrieks and accusations. But, its time for MAN to grow up in America and FACE the truth that the womb’s of women populated the Americas – along with HER LUST! Women must own lust to complete THE AGREEMENT?
I will be going before the Mayor and City Council and ask for protection from the Ugly Woman Cartel who have been terrorizing me and cats. I am going to be asked that I be declared a City Shrine – and moved to a safe place. Consider the giant head of Ken Kesey in downtown Springfield. Was Ken a racist?
When I showed Mary a pic of me as a Hippie up a tree – with my cat – she wrote….”Iky”. It was a real turn-off. Mary owns upper crust white ideals. She wants money and a man who worships money. White men worship money. Many white women have married – for money! They catered to….HIS LUST! Does Mary lust after me, or….just my land! How Biblical!
I have placed Mary amongst great muses. When Mary and I tie the knot, she will be called…..MARY PACIFICA PRESCO.
Taking a few tentative steps down the hall, he peeked at Ms. Nattitude, who kept her head down looking at her work, which was the singnel to go ahead. Thirty paces down the hall he came upon a corridor that had a black and yellow tape across it. Peering down this hall that curved to the left, Arthur noticed about twelve blocks of marble that looked very similar. One was covered with a canvas that was tied down with hemp rope, in an angry fashion. There was a large note attached to it. Being in Naval Intelligence, Arthur could not contain himself. Reaching to undo the bow on the tape, he heard a quiet tisking. Looking up he saw Kwiango wagging her long finger at him. Then, he heard a loud shout that trailed off into this heartbreaking sob!
“WHY DID YOU LEAVE ME THERE! I felt so alone. So…….alooooone!”
“DAMN YOU! DAMN! DAMN DAMN! YOU!”
Then came a loud crash with pounding. Someone has flown into a rage. Arthur identified it as a young woman’s voice coming from a door ten feet away.
“YOU CURSED MY SOUL! I can not die without a soul. CRASH!”
Arthur rushed to the door, and gave Kwiango a glance. Her head was down. She was out of the loop. Arthur knocked – and the door flew open! Arttur jumped three feet back! His hair was standing up. Before him stood a woman in a blue apron with a chisel and hammer in her hands. Her face was covered in marble dust but for the streaks her tears made as they ran down her cheeks. She was covered in marble dust. She let go a quaking sigh!
“Kwinago! I am done with this one. Get it out of my sight. Put it with the others. I never want to see it again! HURRY!”
Kwiango had already hit what she called ‘The Art Removal Button’ and here they come The Art Squad. Arthur watched them enter the studio, and haul out the sculpture on a dolly. The Art Police trotted down the hall, undid the bow, and wheeled the new creation down the hall that curved to the left.
The monument was carved by artist Gutzon Borglum, a known member of the Ku Klux Klan.
The mountain has long been a flashpoint for Native American activists. In 1971, protesters affiliated with the American Indian Movement occupied the monument and dubbed it “Mount Crazy Horse,” and protesters affiliated with the activist group NDN Collective are set to stage a protest during Trump’s visit this week.
Noem has clashed with both Frazier and Bear Runner earlier this year as well, threatening legal action against their respective tribes for coronavirus checkpoints on the roads in and out of their reservations. Frazier and Bear Runner invoked tribal sovereignty, while Noem said they were interfering with federally and state-owned roads.
Each year, two million visitors walk or roll from the entrance of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, in South Dakota, to the Avenue of Flags, to peer up at the 60-foot visages of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. Dedicated 75 years ago this month, Mount Rushmore was intended by its creator, Gutzon Borglum, to be a celebration of not only these four presidents but also the nation’s unprecedented greatness. “This colossus is our mark,” he wrote with typical bombast. Yet Borglum’s own sordid story shows that this beloved site is also a testament to the ego and ugly ambition that undergird even our best-known triumphs.
In 1914, Borglum was a sculptor in Connecticut of modest acclaim when he received an inquiry from the elderly president of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, C. Helen Plane, about building a “shrine to the South” near Atlanta. When he first glimpsed “the virgin stone” of his canvas, a quartz hump called Stone Mountain, Borglum later recalled, “I saw the thing I had been dreaming of all my life.” He sketched out a vast sculpture of generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and was hired.The son of polygamist Mormons from Idaho, Borglum had no ties to the Confederacy, but he had white supremacist leanings. In letters he fretted about a “mongrel horde” overrunning the “Nordic” purity of the West, and once said, “I would not trust an Indian, off-hand, 9 out of 10, where I would not trust a white man 1 out of 10.” Above all, he was an opportunist. He aligned himself with the Ku Klux Klan, an organization reborn—it had faded after the Civil War—in a torch-light ceremony atop Stone Mountain in 1915. While there isn’t proof that Borglum officially joined the Klan, which helped fund the project, “he nonetheless became deeply involved in Klan politics,” John Taliaferro writes in Great White Fathers, his 2002 history of Mount Rushmore.
Borglum’s decision to work with the Klan wasn’t even a sound business proposition. By the mid-1920s, infighting left the group in disarray and fundraising for the Stone Mountain memorial stalled. Around then, the South Dakota historian behind the Mount Rushmore initiative approached Borglum—an overture that enraged Borglum’s Atlanta backers, who fired him on February 25, 1925. He took an ax to his models for the shrine, and with a posse of locals on his heels, fled to North Carolina.
The Stone Mountain sponsors sandblasted Borglum’s work and hired a new artist, Henry Augustus Lukeman, to execute the memorial, only adding to Borglum’s bitterness. “Every able man in America refused it, and thank God, every Christian,” Borglum later said of Lukeman. “They got a Jew.” (A third sculptor, Walker Kirtland Hancock, completed the memorial in 1972.)
Still, the years in Georgia had given Borglum the expertise to tackle Rushmore, and he began carving in 1927 at age 60. He famously devoted the last 14 years of his life to the project. His son, Lincoln, oversaw the finishing touches.
Headstrong Artist Carved a Place in History
First-generation American artist Gutzon Borglum emerged onto the national scene when he carved into history the heads of four U.S. presidents on Mt. Rushmore, deep in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Although his earlier paintings and sculptures would be overshadowed by the mountainside known as the Shrine to Democracy, many of his works were crafted in Los Angeles and the town where he lived, Sierra Madre.
Like Mt. Rushmore itself, Borglum was a larger-than-life figure who demanded attention. Amid a career that spanned more than half a century, he carried on a romance with the California landscape, painting hundreds of seascapes, landscapes, crumbling mission exteriors, championship horses and a portrait of Gen. John C. Fremont, as well as sculpting a bust of Fremont’s wife, Jessie Benton Fremont, and the Los Angeles Times’ bronze eagle.
The artist was born John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum in Idaho on March 25, 1867. His father was a Mormon immigrant from Denmark who had married two sisters. When Borglum was 4, his father, a frontier doctor, left the church, discarding young Borglum’s mother so he could move back into society with only one wife and a brood of children.
Young Borglum, angry and rebellious, moved with his father and the rest of the family to Omaha, where he was reared by his stepmother-aunt.
In 1884, his father’s wanderlust led the family to Los Angeles. The father opened a medical practice and Borglum, 17, began a career as a lithographer’s apprentice and a fresco painter. He quit after six months, angry over what he considered a meager salary.
Determined to be a famous artist, he began to paint landscapes and portraits of the rich and famous. He gradually carved out a niche for himself, and opened his own art studio in the basement of The Times’ building on Broadway. There his art caught the eye of Times Publisher Harrison Gray Otis, who would later commission the Times eagle, which was emblematic of Otis’ motto: “Stand fast, stand firm, stand sure, stand true.”
The eagle weighs more than 200 pounds and has a wingspan of 7 1/2 feet. It perched atop three Times buildings beginning Dec. 5, 1891. In 1956, it was moved inside to protect it from decay, and today it graces the lobby.
Sharing a Studio
In the late 1880s, Borglum became attracted to a worldly woman named Elizabeth “Lisa” Putnam. She was an accomplished still-life artist and teacher, as well as a divorcee nearly twice his age. But she recognized his genius and encouraged him to go to San Francisco for study. When he returned in 1887, after less than a year under the tutelage of artist William Keith, Putnam invited Borglum to share her studio.
As he began to experiment with various painting styles, he attracted critics, friends, patrons — and editor Charles F. Lummis, who saw in Borglum the promise of better things.
“His paintings had many shortcomings and showed his lack of education. Yet there was in them a creative breadth that promised to make him heard,” Lummis wrote in his magazine, Land of Sunshine.
Borglum believed that he would be famous before he turned 30. Putnam, his teacher, mentor and lover, shared his dream.
His portraits led to his first significant art commission, in 1888, when Jessie Fremont asked him to paint her husband, who had explored and mapped the West. In return, she gave Borglum letters of introduction to her prosperous friends, including railroad magnate Collis Huntington, former California Gov. Leland Stanford and young Theodore Roosevelt.
Fremont’s portrait proved valuable, earning Borglum the loyalty and support of Jessie Fremont, who was instrumental in furthering his career.
In 1889, Borglum, 22, married Putnam, 41, in Los Angeles.
That same year, he finished a 5-by-9-foot painting of a stagecoach drawn by six horses careening down a mountain road. “Staging in California,” considered one of his finest works, is at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha.
The work earned him the backing of a socialite, Mrs. Spencer H. Smith, who bought many of his paintings, introduced him to her powerful friends and, in 1890, paid for his art training in Europe, where Borglum learned sculpting techniques under Auguste Rodin in Paris
In 1893, Borglum and his wife were lured back to L.A. by the climate and a commission for three landscapes from Stanford.
With four Great Danes in tow, the Borglums set up their studio in a cottage tucked amid grapevines and palm, pepper, orange and oak trees in the foothills of Sierra Madre on the northwest corner of Hermosa Avenue and Live Oak, now called Orange Grove Avenue. They called their four-acre ranch El Rosario, meaning the rose garden.
“There is enough beauty in nature here to keep me painting a lifetime,” Borglum said. The home was also close to Lucky Baldwin’s racehorses, which Borglum used as models for many paintings.
Lummis, the editor, introduced Borglum to his notable friends and his home, El Alisal. Borglum built the rock fireplace in the landmark house that Lummis crafted along the Arroyo Seco. Today, it is the home of the Historical Society of Southern California.
As more people began to recognize Borglum’s talent, he grew more self-confident and butted heads with Lummis, which led to a bitter feud. Each man believed he was an authority on art.
Borglum became downright bitter when Stanford unexpectedly died in 1893, leaving his financial affairs tangled. Borglum lost out on his $10,000 commission for the three landscapes.
Another blow came just before Thanksgiving in 1894, when he found all four Great Danes dead, poisoned by a mean-spirited neighbor.
By 1896, he was nearly 30 and nearly broke. His marriage was failing because his wife wanted a quieter life, while he was bursting with creative energy. Worse, with his self-imposed deadline approaching, he wasn’t famous.
So the Borglums returned to Europe, where he took London by storm, painting portraits of the rich and titled and attending lavish parties. But that interlude merely delayed the inevitable. After six years in Europe, he declared his marriage over and hopped on a ship for New York in 1902.
Crossing the Atlantic he met Mary Montgomery, 23, whom he would marry in 1909. The couple had two children. His former wife eventually returned to their homestead in Sierra Madre, where she continued to paint. She died in Venice, Calif., in 1922.
Borglum was more determined than ever to win renown. Within a 10-year span, he created a marble bust of Lincoln, which was installed in the Capitol rotunda; sculpted more than 100 pieces for the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York; and crafted a monument to Civil War Gen. Philip Sheridan in Washington, D.C.
His penchant for outspokenness enraged the public, but the press loved him. He called one artist a “pinhead sculptor” and argued that most of the nation’s public monuments were “worthless and should be dynamited.”
“This is America’s colossal age,” he said, “and American artists should celebrate it.”
In 1915, the United Daughters of the Confederacy signed him to carve a now-famous tourist attraction, a 1,200-foot-long relief of Confederate soldiers on Georgia’s Stone Mountain.
When the Ku Klux Klan became the group’s major financial supporter, Borglum embraced the Klan, saying blacks had “eaten into the very moral fiber of our race character” and calling immigrants “slippered assassins,” despite his father’s roots in Denmark. Before completing the project, he was fired for his “offensive egotism and delusions of grandeur.” He smashed his models and bolted to South Dakota before authorities could catch him. The Stone Mountain work was completed by others, but not until 1970.
South Dakota, which had been courting Borglum, had decided that it too wanted a tourist attraction. So Borglum delved into politics, fighting for funding and struggling against personal bankruptcy and public indifference to build the monumental sculpture.
In 1927, he began to carve the 60-foot-high heads of four presidents: George Washington for the birth of the Republic, Thomas Jefferson for the idea of representative government, Abraham Lincoln for promoting a permanent union and equality, and Theodore Roosevelt for establishing the 20th century role of the U.S. in world affairs.
Borglum chose the subjects himself, dissuading South Dakota from using Sioux Indian Chief Red Cloud and scout Kit Carson, among others. Despite his earlier racist comments, the artist admired Lincoln and even named his son after him.
Borglum’s detractors called the project more an engineering feat than art. A New York critic opined that if he was going to destroy another mountain, “thank God it’s only in South Dakota.”
Of the $990,000 needed to create the Mt. Rushmore Memorial, $836,000 came from federal funds, even during the Depression. Much of the rest came from schoolchildren who donated pennies, nickels and dimes, while Borglum mortgaged his 500-acre Connecticut estate and pitched Studebakers and Bromo-Seltzer in radio ads. Borglum received $170,000 for the 14 years he spent on the project — a little more than $12,000 a year.
As tough as the granite of his beloved mountain, he died of a heart attack a few days before his 74th birthday in March 1941. His son, Lincoln, finished the project later that year, just before the U.S. entered the war.
Borglum is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park in Glendale in the Memorial Court of Honor. The four presidential heads of Mt. Rushmore are depicted in bronze on his plaque.
All that’s left of El Rosario is a stone fireplace. But Lizzie’s Trail Inn, a tiny museum in Sierra Madre, displays the palette on which he mixed his colors of California.