New York Art@Site Carl Paul Jennewein Doors of British Empire Building

Carl Paul Jennewein


Doors of British Empire Building

Rockefeller Center
"The figures represent the nine major industries of the British Empire. From the British Isles: Fisherman and Seaman; from India: a woman carrying a bag of salt, a woman beside a tobacco plant and a man holding stalks of sugar cane; from Australia: shepherd representing wool; from Canada: reaper; from Africa: a woman among cotton plants."
This website refers to the work as"Industries of the British Empire"...and has a more specific description:
"Industries of the British Empire is a large cast bronze panel embellished with nine gilded allegorical figures in three vertical rows, each representing the industries found through the British empire. Sculpted by Carl Paul Jennewein, the 18 feet high by 11 feet wide high-relief was installed above the entrance to 620 Fifth Avenue, the British Empire Building, in January 1933.
The classically rendered figures, set starkly against a brown patina, embody the glory of the Empire with their forward facing poses and firm stances, and wealth with their gilding ornamentation. Eight of the figures are labeled with their industries. The British Isles are symbolized by three of the figures: the unlabeled central figure of a seaman with an achor; Fish is a man with a net and a leaping fish; and Coal is a miner with a lantern and pick. India is also symbolized by three figures: Sugar, a man holding sugarcane stalks; Salt, a woman carrying a salt bag; and Tobacco, a woman with tobacco leaves. Africa is symoolized by Cotton, a woman with cotton plants. Austrailia is symbolized by Wool, a sphepherd with a crook and sheep. Canada is symbolized by Wheat, a reaper with a scythe and wheat stalks. Jennewein added a stylized rising sun beneath the allegorical figures, representing the old adage, "The sun never sets on the British Empire"
Above the Industries of the British Empire, Jennewein added a polychrome-painted and gilded limestone replica of the Royal Coat of Arms Coat of Arms the United Kingdom." The artist, Carl Paul Jennewein, also known a C.Paul Jennewein (1890-1978), was a German-born American sculptor. In 2002, one of his nudes, "Spirit of Justice", became controversial when the then prudish Attorney General John Ashcroft, had the figure veiled at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.