Merrell Gage

Theme/Style – Modernism, Figurative Art, Native American and Southwestern subjects

Media – Sculpture, oils, watercolors

Artistic Focus – A prolific sculptor and recorder of American history, Merrell Gage created work that was universally recognized for its honesty and its perfection of craftsmanship. His private-commission sculptures are figurative works that illustrate the artist’s quest to capture the essence of his subjects.

Career Highlights –

• Robert Merrell Gage was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1892 and worked on ranches in the Midwest before embarking on a career in art, studying in New York City at the Art Students League, the Robert Henri School, and the Beaux Arts Institute of Design.
• Between 1914 and 1916 (and again during 1921-1923) Gage apprenticed to Gutzon Borglum, and assisted in the designs for the Stone Mountain Georgia Project.
• Gage taught sculpture in Kansas before moving to Los Angeles in 1923.
• Gage exhibited widely from the 1920s through the 1950s at, among many other venues, the Pan-Pacific International Exposition in Long Beach in 1929 (receiving a gold medal); the California-Pacific International Exposition in San Diego in 1935; and the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco in 1939; as well as solo shows at the Los Angeles County and Santa Barbara Museums in 1945, the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 1946, and the University of Southern California in 1959.
• Throughout his life as an artist, Gage was also an instructor, teaching at Chouinard Art School, and spending 33 years on the faculty of the University of Southern California.
• Among Gage’s best-known works are his monumental study, Lincoln the Student; the Lincoln Memorial at the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka; bas-relief works at the Southern California Edison and Times-Mirror buildings in Los Angeles; and other works in the Los Angeles area.
• “Face of Lincoln,” a film featuring Gage’s work, received an Oscar in 1955 as the year’s best short subject. Merrell Gage passed away in Laguna Beach, California, in 1981.