Arts Advocates Gifted 'Doughboy' Statue From Colson Family

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SARASOTA, FL — Sculptor Frank Colson’s wife and son have gifted the Arts Advocates organization with a 12-inch bronze replica sculpture of “Spirit of the American Doughboy.”

Arts Advocates Gifted 'Doughboy' Statue From Colson Family
© Courtesy of Arts Adovcates The Arts Advocates Gallery will have special hours on Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day, to showcase Frank Colson’s “Spirit of the American Doughboy” replica sculpture.

The statue, which is a replica of the life-size sculpture Colson was commissioned to create for Rev. J.D. Hamel Park in downtown Sarasota, is now on exhibit in the Arts Advocates Gallery, located in the Crossings at Siesta Mall, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, in Sarasota.

The gallery will have special hours from 2 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 11, which is Veteran’s Day, to honor both this gift and veterans, the organization said in a news release.

The memorial statue of a World War I American soldier — a “doughboy” — is one of the most reproduced life-size sculptures in the United States, Arts Advocates said. Its original sculptor was Ernest Moore “Dick” Viquesney (1876-1946), who created it in 1920. Often referred to as simply the “doughboy statue,” its proper name is “Spirit of the American Doughboy.”

Arts Advocates Gifted 'Doughboy' Statue From Colson Family
© Provided by Patch A replica of “Spirit of the American Doughboy

In the 1920s, there was great national interest to honor those who served in the World War, and, like many cities across the United States, Sarasota had planned to obtain a copy of “Spirit of the American Doughboy.” However, the Great Depression halted those efforts, Arts Advocates said.

Decades later, Sarasota’s plan to acquire the statue was fulfilled. On May 25, 1998 — Memorial Day — the city got its full-scale bronze doughboy, created by Colson using molds taken from the genuine Viquesney sculpture in Clearwater.

Beginning in the 1960s, Colson, who was a sculptor and ceramicist, created his works in Sarasota along with other notable artists of the Sarasota Art Colony.

In 1964, the Colsons bought the house and studio of watercolorist Hilton Leech and established the studio as the Colson School of Art, which is now on the National Historic Register.

Colson also led at the Manatee Art League in the 1960s and 1970s. His work has been exhibited in Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and Sweden.

Arts Advocates is “thrilled” to add “Spirit of the American Doughboy” to its current exhibit of Sarasota Art Colony artists, the organization said.

Regular gallery hours are every Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. Docent-guided gallery tours are offered the first Wednesday of every month at 11 a.m. Reservations for tours are required.

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