Spirit of Life
French was commissioned by the widow of Spencer Trask to create a public memorial to him for his community of Saratoga Springs, NY. Trask was a businessman and philanthropist who established the Yaddo Foundation which supports established authors and creative artists through residencies on his estate. French chose an evergreen sprig, Trask’s personal emblem, and a bowl symbolic of the healing waters of Saratoga Springs and put them in the hands of a gracious female figure with flowing robes. The symbolic elements and the personification of a subject’s character through allegorical statuary are typical of the sculptor’s work and common to American outdoor sculpture during the American Renaissance. Moreover, in siting the sculpture in a fountain pool before a tall wall with classical architectural features, French created a memorial that not only commemorates Trask but also exemplifies the best of his public sculpture and the finest that American sculptors of the era produced. Danny O’s delicately colored image conveys the fresh vitality of the Spirit of Life.