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Bust of Eli Kirk Price (1860-1933)
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Bust of Eli Kirk Price (1860-1933)

Einar Jónsson, Icelandic, 1874 - 1954

Made in United States, North and Central America



23 1/4 x 9 1/2 inches (59.1 x 24.1 cm) Block: 9 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches (23.2 x 23.5 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Evelyn Taylor Price, 1933

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In his efforts to engage Philadelphia in the City Beautiful movement of the 1910s and 1920s, civic leader and lawyer Eli Kirk Price focused on three sites: the city’s park, its parkway, and as a culmination to that parkway, a great art museum to sit atop a prominent hill in Fairmount Park.

While this ambitious plan did not originate with him, it was Price who, as vice president of the city’s Fairmount Park Commission, presented designs in 1913 for a grand and more suitable home for the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art. Having secured the commission’s approval, Price quickly alerted the press and submitted the plans to the Art Jury, another city panel responsible for approving publicly funded construction. That Price was a member of the Art Jury and appointed to its subcommittee charged with reviewing the design no doubt benefited the museum project. Yet this promising start immediately gave way to delays, and it was not until March 1928 that the new museum building opened to the public—with only a quarter of its display area finished. Price’s support of the project never flagged, and as noted at the time of his death, he endured a “storm of abuse . . . and ridicule” from politicians, the public, and the press to see construction through to its completion.

In addition to supporting the Museum through his municipal appointment, Price was active in its corporate operations as well. In 1917 he joined its Board of Trustees and Executive Committee. In 1926 he was appointed Museum president, a position he held until his death.