Own a Marshall Fredericks Bronze

Bronze castings of six of Marshall Fredericks’s most popular sculptures are available for purchase. These sculptures were cast in limited editions of 15 each after Mr. Fredericks’s death in 1998 to support the Museum.

Each sculpture is on a polished black marble base.  If you are interested in owning one of these exquisite bronzes, please call the Registrar at 989-964-2032 or email the Director Marilyn Wheaton.

Circus Clown

Plaster model Circus Clown,
27″ x 11 1/2″ x 6″
$25,000 (1 available)

Many of us remember Fredericks’s graceful clowns on the lobby walls inside the Ford Auditorium, the former home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, in downtown Detroit. But one of his earliest creations of a clown was possibly the most rewarding.

In the late 1930s, Fredericks, the assistant to the renowned Carl Milles, Cranbrook Sculptor-in-Residence, had created Circus Clown. He loved to tell about the day sculptor Carl Milles first saw the sculpture. “Marshall,” Milles exclaimed, “I wish I’d done that.” Thrilled by Milles’ praise, Fredericks considered this the greatest compliment he could have received from his mentor.

Elegant and inviting, Circus Clown beckons us to the mysteries and excitement of the circus. Fredericks’s bronze casting captures both his poise and the perfection of his costume. With his arms outspread in welcome, Circus Clown is delicately balanced on a big top, encircled by marching elephants and a circus train.

Two Bears

Location: Michigan Public Library,
Sterling Heights, Michigan
Two Bears, 16 1/2″ x 14″ x 8″
$25,000 (7 available)

One of Fredericks’s most endearing sculptures, Two Bears, is a testament to the artist’s desire to make art that warms the heart and invites the participation of its viewers.

Fredericks once said of Two Bears, “I love animals of all kinds and I did the group, basically, for children. A child’s reaction to a sculpture is such an honest reaction; they see through anything that’s superficial.”

As the life-size Two Bears was installed at the Sterling Heights, Michigan Public Library, Fredericks told his audience of an important objective for this work. “When the noses of the bears are shiny,” he said, “I’ll know I have accomplished my goal.”

Often erroneously called Mother Bear and Baby, castings of Two Bears are also located at Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina and Interlochen Center for the Arts in northern Michigan, where it has become a treasured monument for young musicians, parents and visitors.

Boy and Bear

Location: Southfield Public Library,
Southfield, Michigan
Boy and Bear, 11″ x 11″ x 5 1/2″
$15,000 (7 available)

Marshall Fredericks’s credo was to bring happiness to others through his sculptures. In the early 1950s, shopping centers provided a promising and exciting new way to expand the number of people exposed to his art. The J.L. Hudson Company commissioned Fredericks to create Boy and Bear for the entrance to the Hudson’s store at the Northland Shopping Center in Southfield, MI. There his life-size Boy and Bear has enchanted millions of children and parents alike. At Northland, Fredericks’s massive bear is a surprising ride for the innocent boy sitting on its back. Perhaps his own small children were Fredericks’s inspiration for the boy’s happy countenance and confident posture.

The Thinker

Location: Cranbrook Art Museum,
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
The Thinker, 13″ x 9″ x 9″
$12,000 (11 available)

A world traveler, Cranbrook Art Museum founder George G. Booth was deeply impressed with Rodin’s brooding “The Thinker,” found at the entrance of both the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Cleveland Art Museum,  Booth wanted a thinker for Cranbrook.  So as his museum came to completion in the 1930s, Booth approached Fredericks with a request to make a “Thinker” for its steps.

Naturally, Fredericks felt it was unthinkable to do Rodin’s sculpture over again in any form. So with his characteristic humor, he created a chimpanzee that appears to be thinking very deep thoughts. When The Thinker was presented to Booth, the elder gentleman studied it quietly for a few moments. Then, recognizing the idea and the quality of the sculpture, he commented that Fredericks’s chimp was probably thinking far more interesting thoughts than were humans.

Siberian Ram

Location: Baldwin Public Library,
Birmingham, Michigan
Siberian Ram, 9″ x 8″ x 5 3/4″
$10,000 (11 available)

A rare example of Fredericks’s exceptional skill in stone carving is Siberian Ram, whose contained power and quiet dignity enhance the entrance of the Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham, Michigan. Bronze castings of Siberian Ram are located at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan and the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum.

One of Fredericks’s daughters remembers her father explaining to her a little about art, which certainly applies to Siberian Ram. “Monumental,” he told the young child, “is when a sculpture is majestic in any size.”


The Spirit of Detroit

Location: Coleman A. Young Municipal
Center in Detroit, Michigan
The Spirit of Detroit, 12″ x 14 1/4″ x 4 1/4″
$10,000 (3 available)

The Spirit of Detroit, erected in front of a white marble wall at the entrance to the City-County Building (now Coleman A. Young Municipal Center) depicts the cultural and religious spirit of the community. Installed in 1958, The Spirit of Detroit was said to be the largest sculpture cast in Europe since the Renaissance period (1400 – 1600). It stands sixteen feet high and twenty-two feet across from fingertip to fingertip.

On the Vermont marble wall behind the figure are the official seals of Wayne County, Michigan and the City of Detroit. Engraved on the wall is a verse from II Corinthians: “Now the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.” Designed to continue the thought indicated in the inscription on the wall, the sculpture is in the form of a kneeling man with outstretched arms. In his right hand he holds a father, mother and child representing family, which, according to Fredericks, is “probably the noblest human relationship.” In his left hand, the figure bears a sphere with rays emanating from it signifying deity. Fredericks chose the sphere because it is an object complete in itself with no beginning and no end.

This sculpture took Fredericks four years to complete and meant a great deal to the artist, who once remarked, “I pray only that this work in some small way inspires those who see it.” Fredericks appears to have gotten his wish as the citizens of Detroit immediately embraced this giant figure as the city’s cultural icon by giving it the affectionate nickname, “The Jolly Green Giant.” The sculpture is also frequently dressed in local sporting teams’ jerseys during playoff action, and The Spirit of Detroit‘s image appears as the central element in the logos of the city’s departments and services.