OOSI Sculpture

Turtle Baby

1915 / Edith Barretto Stevens Parsons / Cleveland

DSC_0298.JPG

A young, chubby girl, probably 3 years in age, is tucked into the marble wings of the Cleveland Museum of Art. The joy masterfully captured in her smile is pure and untainted, and her body buzzes with gleeful energy. In each hand, she clutches a turtle: one by the tail and the other by the hind leg. The turtles sway and dangle helplessly as the little girl balances on the globe, one foot tucked under the other. Edith Barretto Stevens Parsons' piece is the second in a series of garden sculptures depicting little girls holding animals. Her sculpture is endearing for its wholesome rendering of childhood naïveté, unimpeded joy, and an admirable, innocent mischievousness. The lively posing of the figure demands a similar care from the viewer as might an actual child.

Parsons lived and worked from the end of the 19th century up into the middle of the 20th century. She studied under Daniel Chester French, who has several marble pieces in Downtown Cleveland. In Charlotte Rubenstein's "American Women Sculptors: A History of Women Working in Three Dimensions" she iterates that "In the presence of so much that is weighty and powerful, the popularity of Duck Baby [one of Parsons other, similar sculptures] is a significant and touching indication of the world's hunger for what is cheerful and mirth-provoking." Though Rubenstein was writing about a different sculpture from the series, her words ring true of the Turtle Baby, even today.

Location: Outdoor Garden Court, 11150 East Boulevard

County

: Cuyahoga

Citation

: Edith Barretto Stevens Parsons, “Turtle Baby,” Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory, accessed July 15, 2018, http://oosi.sculpturecenter.org/items/show/829.

Dublin Core

Title

Turtle Baby

Description

A young, chubby girl, probably 3 years in age, is tucked into the marble wings of the Cleveland Museum of Art. The joy masterfully captured in her smile is pure and untainted, and her body buzzes with gleeful energy. In each hand, she clutches a turtle: one by the tail and the other by the hind leg. The turtles sway and dangle helplessly as the little girl balances on the globe, one foot tucked under the other. Edith Barretto Stevens Parsons' piece is the second in a series of garden sculptures depicting little girls holding animals. Her sculpture is endearing for its wholesome rendering of childhood naïveté, unimpeded joy, and an admirable, innocent mischievousness. The lively posing of the figure demands a similar care from the viewer as might an actual child.

Parsons lived and worked from the end of the 19th century up into the middle of the 20th century. She studied under Daniel Chester French, who has several marble pieces in Downtown Cleveland. In Charlotte Rubenstein's "American Women Sculptors: A History of Women Working in Three Dimensions" she iterates that "In the presence of so much that is weighty and powerful, the popularity of Duck Baby [one of Parsons other, similar sculptures] is a significant and touching indication of the world's hunger for what is cheerful and mirth-provoking." Though Rubenstein was writing about a different sculpture from the series, her words ring true of the Turtle Baby, even today.

Date

1915

Sculpture Item Type Metadata

Location City

Location County

Location Site

Outdoor Garden Court

Location Street

11150 East Boulevard

Creation Date

01/01/1916