Four Continents (French)


Four Continents
Statues in front of the Custom House (40480).jpg
ArtistDaniel Chester French and Adolph Alexander Weinman
MediumMarble sculpture
LocationNew York City, New York, U.S.
Coordinates40°42′15″N 74°0′49″W / 40.70417°N 74.01361°W / 40.70417; -74.01361Coordinates: 40°42′15″N 74°0′49″W / 40.70417°N 74.01361°W / 40.70417; -74.01361

Four Continents is the collective name of four sculptures by Daniel Chester French, installed outside the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at Bowling Green in Manhattan, New York City.[1] French performed the commissions with associate Adolph A. Weinman.[2][3][4]

Description and history

The work was made of marble[5] and sculpted by the Piccirilli Brothers,[6][7][8] with each sculptural group costing $13,500.[6] From east to west, the statues depicted larger-than-life-size personifications of Asia, America, Europe, and Africa.[9][5] The primary figures were female, but there were also auxiliary human figures flanking each primary figure. In addition, Asia's figure was paired with a tiger, and Africa's figure was paired with a lion.[5]



  1. ^ Keyes, Allison. "Two Museum Directors Say It's Time to Tell the Unvarnished History of the U.S." Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  2. ^ "United States Custom House" (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. October 14, 1965. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 26, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  3. ^ van Alfen, Peter. "Monuments, Medals, and Metropolis, part I: Beaux Arts Architecture". Archived from the original on January 12, 2014.
  4. ^ Harris, J. (2002). The New Art History: A Critical Introduction. Taylor & Francis. p. 269. ISBN 978-1-134-58250-1. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "For Four Marble Groups; Symbols of Continents for the Custom House by D.C. French Shown". The New York Times. April 30, 1905. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "United States Custom House Interior" (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. January 9, 1979. p. 4. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  7. ^ "Custom House Statues". New-York Tribune. November 13, 1905. p. 9. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via open access.
  8. ^ Gray, Christopher (October 17, 1999). "Streetscapes/The Piccirillis; Six Brothers Who Left Their Mark as Sculptors". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 8, 2019. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  9. ^ White, Norval; Willensky, Elliot & Leadon, Fran (2010). AIA Guide to New York City (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-19538-386-7.

External links

  • Media related to Four Continents at the U.S. Custom House at Wikimedia Commons
  • The Four Continents at Waymarking: Africa, America, Asia, Europe