The illustration above is a photograph of a photograph that was taken shortly after the Majestic opened on June 14, 1929. This bronze stands in the lobby at the Majestic Theatre, in San Antonio, Texas. The signature on the base is Harriet W. Frishmuth, and it is dated 1928. The title is: "Sweet Grapes". The bronze is about five feet tall.
 
The original ornamental plaster surround that is pictured above was removed, along with the statue, in the 50s, to make room for a popcorn stand / candy counter. The statue was replaced during the 1989 restoration, but funds were not available at that time to replace the plaster.
 
Beginning in June 2001, I began the project to replace the plaster ornamentation surrounding the Frishmuth work. This project is part of the continuing effort by the Las Casas Foundation to restore the Majestic Theatre to its absolutely original state.
 
Click on the photo below to go to the page that illustrates
the reproduction of the original alcove.

(dialup connections will take longer to load the larger image files)
 
 
Installation of the new work began in August 2002.

Click photo above to go to the page.
 
This bronze was created in 1924 and cast in a smaller size. In 1928, four castings were done in this life size. John Eberson (architect), and Karl Hoblitzelle (owner), acquired one for the lobby at the new Majestic Theatre, which opened in 1929. According to the archives at the University of Texas Library, the statue was on a rotating pedestal, and water squirted from the fishes mouths at the statues base.

I have been told that the model for the "Sweet Grapes" work was a lady named Rose Yasgore. If anyone can confirm this, or has any other info for me, please email. Thanks.
 
 
Harriet Whitney Frishmuth (1880 - 1980) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her parents separated when she was very young. She spent much of her early life in Europe. She attended private schools in Paris and Dresden along with her two sisters. By chance she met a fellow hotel guest in Switzerland when she was nineteen years old, and it was then she was introduced to sculpture. Her study of sculpture was extensive at the Art Students League in New York with Gustav Borglum and MacNeil, and, in Paris studied briefly under Auguste Rodin. In Berlin she studied for two years under Von Euchtritz. She was an assistant to many sculptors with their monuments, and eventually opened her own studio in the home of her uncle, on Park Avenue.

The New York County Medical Society commissioned her to do a bas-relief in 1910. This was a modest start of a long career. The Gorham Co. in New York City employed her modeling ashtrays, bookends, and small figures which they cast and sold. She barely survived. These early pieces are highly sought after by collectors of fine art today. After moving into a converted stable/studio off of 36th St., she developed her uninhibited style. Frishmuth's large bronzes often became focal points for elaborate garden settings. Her small bronzes were avidly sought after by private collectors and by museums.
 
Harriet Frishmuth is perhaps most well known for her sensitive rendering of lithe female forms in extended poses. Dancers were her favorite models. Her most important model was the noted dancer Desha, who was known among artists for her ability to hold difficult poses. She met Desha Delteil in 1916. Desha modeled for the majority of her most beautiful and famous works of the 1920's. The Vine was her first commercial success of any merit. This female nude was created in 1921. Subsequently an edition of over 300 was cast.

The last two major exhibitions of Frishmuth's work were in New York City in 1929, although she remained active in the art world for decades afterwards. The depression of the 1930's brought an end to her most prolific period, and she closed her New York studio, moving back to Philadelphia. In 1940, at the age of sixty, she was seriously injured in a fall from a scaffold. Harriet Frishmuth scorned modern art and was quite outspoken on the subject, calling it "spiritless". The name sculptress was unwelcome, and she was very vocal on the subject when the name was applied to her. Unlike the majority of her contemporaries, she would see a revived interest in her early work before she died. Museums throughout the United States display her sculpture in prominent places.

She died in Connecticut over New Year's in 1980, at the age of 99.

Info above was found at various sources.
Here's a LINK to a ballad about the new Majestic Theatre. This was given to me by Pat Hilliard. She told me she found it at the San Antonio Library, in a newspaper article from 1929. The Sweet Grapes bronze is mentioned in about verse number twelve.
 


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to go back
to Majestic


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to go to
home page


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to go to
the index

 
I will be adding more pages to this part of my website as this project proceeds, so check back once in a while.
 
 
 


click photo above
to go to
Sweet Grapes Page Two

This website built, maintained, and copyrighted by
T.M. Battersby
1999, 2000, 2001.


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Tom Battersby, Ornamental Lath and Plaster.
 
Ornamental plaster and stucco restoration is a specialty for us.
 
The preservation of your historical site is important to us.
 
New ornamental plaster and stucco embellishments are also available,
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We will cast plaster, or any other medium, in your mold,
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Production of ornamentation, and/or installation is no problem.
 
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