Location:#5 & #6 at the Center Tower
Carl Milles’ fountains and sculptural monuments are well-known treasures in many cities of his Swedish homeland. Center Tower is blessed with two of his delightful bronzes, both located in ponds that merge the force of water with buoyant figures and animals.
In “Sun Glitter,” a mermaid with hair flying rides a dolphin through a barrage of water while smaller fish circle around them. This joyous celebration of youthful energy, set free in the elements, typifies Milles mastery of implied motion. Though water is the only component of the work that actually moves, the entire sculpture seems to bound through the spray that splashes against its greenish surfaces. Every detail-from the mermaid’s animated expression to the dolphin’s twisted tail-is caught up in the turbulance of the wild journey. Larger forms of the baroque composition shoot out in all directions. The mythical figure grips the dolphin’s head in one hand and throws back the other for balance as she maintains her slippery position.
The second Milles sculpture, also outside Center Tower, re-enacts the story of “Jonah and the Whale.” We find a tiny man perched precariously on the mouth of a leaping whale and immediately sense the drama of the moment. Jonah is a humorously rotund little fellow who seems to have just emerged from the mouth of his captor. As he is ejected-seemingly into mid-air-water spews from the whale’s teeth and from surrounding little fish, drenching the amazed man with water. To see this exuberant fountain is to relive a favorite story. Milles has interpreted the familiar talk with typical vigor in a perfectly appropriate setting.
Jonah and the Whale / Sun Glitter
Bio: (1875 -1955) Uppsala, Sweden. Carl Milles was born Carl Emil Wilhelm Andersson, was a son of a lieutenant, and is one of Sweden’s most famous sculptors. He was one of Rodin’s assistants in Paris, was well traveled and influenced by many sources, becoming an American citizen in 1945. His works can be found all over the world. Many can be seen in Millesgaden, a wonderful outdoor museum in Lindigo, Sweden. In 1897 he made what he thought would be a temporary stop in Paris on his way to Chile where he was to manage a school of gymnastics. However, he remained in Paris, where he studied art, working in Auguste Rodin’s studio and slowly gaining recognition as a sculptor. In 1904 he and his wife Olga moved to Munich, Germany.
Two years later they settled in Sweden, buying property on Herserud Cliff in Lidigo, a large island near Stockholm. Millesgaden was built there between 1906 and 1908 as the sculptor’s private residence and workspace. It was turned into a foundation and donated to the Swedish people in 1936, five years after Milles had sailed for America and the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
The Pieces: Center Tower is blessed with two of his delightful bronzes, Jonah and the Whale and Sun Glitter, both located in ponds that merge the force of water with buoyant figures and animals. In Sun G/itter(1932), a mermaid with hair flying rides a dolphin through the spray while smaller fish circle around them. This piece is a joyous celebration of youthful energy set free in the elements. It is said that the charming Sun Glitter bursting forth on her elegant dolphin was one of his worst pieces but which he himself loved most of all.
The second sculpture outside of Center Tower re-enacts the story of “Jonah and the Whale.” We find a tiny man perched precariously on the mouth of an enormous whale and immediately sense the drama of the moment. Milles has interpreted the familiar tale with typical vigor in a perfectly appropriate setting. Jonah and the Whale (1918) is a prime example of the droll and lighthearted treatment received by some of Milles’ subjects.
Trivia: Milles and his wife returned to Sweden in 1951, and lived in Millesgaden every summer until Milles’s death in 1955. They spent winters in Rome, where the American Academy had supplied them with a stUdio. Milles and his wife, Olga, who died in 1967 in Graz, Austria, are buried in a small stone chapel, designed by Milles, at Millesgaden. Because Swedish law requires burial on sacred ground, it took the assistance of the then reigning Gustaf VI Adolf to allow this resting place. The king, a friend of Milles’s and a keen gardener, had helped plant a garden at the site.