New York Art@Site Penelope Jencks Eleanor Roosevelt

Penelope Jencks


Eleanor Roosevelt

Riverside Park
The"Eleanor Roosevelt" monument was unveiled by former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in Manhattan's Riverside Park (New York, NY) in October of 1996. Since its dedication, the sculpture has become a focal point for neighbors and visitors alike.
Sculptor Penelope Jencks was chosen out of over 400 applicants to sculpt the larger than lifesize piece, which was sponsored in part by the Eleanor Roosevelt Monument Fund and the City of New York. Penelope began her work on the piece in 1992, studying hundreds of photographs of Eleanor Roosevelt. She chose a contemplative pose for the sculpture, to suggest the complicated inner life of Eleanor Roosevelt. Her sculpture also captures Mrs. Roosevelt's dignity, simple humanity, and thoughtfulness. The sculpture's face expresses wisdom and compassion as it looks off into the distance.
Penelope Jencks grew up in a household where Eleanor Roosevelt was revered and quoted often. Thus, Penelope has said that while she worked on this project, she felt a much stronger sense of identification with Eleanor Roosevelt than she had with any other of her previous subjects. This strong feeling, so apparent in the brooding, pensive presence of the sculpture, is reinforced by the intimate physical relation which the viewer receives by having the sculpture set on the ground, almost directly in front of the observer.
On the sidewalk in front of the monumental sculpture is a stone engraved with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt:"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity." - Eleanor Roosevelt, 1958