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  Senate Vice Presidential Bust Collection

 Charles Curtis
(Modeled 1929, Carved 1934) by Moses A. Wainer Dykaar
 Charles Curtis 

Sculptor Moses Dykaar submitted a plaster model of Charles Curtis to the vice president in 1932 and received approval to execute the bust in marble for the Senate’s Vice Presidential Bust Collection. Born in Lithuania, Dykaar studied art in Paris, where he soon gained a reputation as a sculptor of note. After immigrating to the United States, he established himself as a master sculptor of expressive portrait busts. “Just a handsome or a pretty face will not do,” Dykaar told a reporter in 1932. “It isn’t the likeness that counts in sculpture. We try to make the physical features we carve in marble show the mental and spiritual attributes of the person, and if we do not do that we fail utterly.” [1]

Unlike many sculptors, Dykaar carried out his own translations of models into marble, but he died before he could undertake the final work on his likeness of Curtis. The sculptor’s widow arranged for the well-known New York firm of Piccirilli Brothers to make the carving, and it was delivered to the Senate in 1935.

Dykaar also created busts of Calvin Coolidge and Thomas Marshall for the Senate’s Vice Presidential Bust Collection. His vigorous marble sculptures of prominent early 20th-century Americans can be found at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and in a number of other collections throughout the United States.

1. David Rankin Barbee, “An Historian in Bronze and Marble,” Washington Post, 3 April 1932.

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