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Roving Rube

August 18, 2003

Pulitzer Memorial Fountain, Grand Army Plaza, Midtown

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Who thinks of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer (founder of the Pulitzer Prize) when they look at this fountain? He left the city $50,000 to build this in his memory at the Plaza.

In choosing the Plaza, Pulitzer threw down one last challenge to his bitter rival, William Randolph Hearst, who'd just erected the unfortunate Maine Memorial on Columbus Circle...He asked that his fountain resemble those on the Place de la Concorde. (Gregory F. Gilmartin, "Shaping the City")

The Pulitzer Fountain sculpture was designed by sculptor Karl Bitter ... It is called the Fountain of Abundance, and shows Pomona, protectress of fruit trees and therefore identified as Goddess of Abundance, atop a fountain of five concentric rings of Hautville stone. Pomona holds a basket of fruit, and cornucopias on either side carry the theme of abundance. She is turned, as though distributing the fruit ... In 1970 the fountain was altered so that instead of the water flowing from a concealed ring around the base of the statue, it now flows through the four masks decorating the statue. (Donald Martin Reynolds, "The Architecture of New York City")

The day Bitter finished the clay model for the sculpture; he was run over and killed by a car in New York, giving his assistant the task of completing the fountain. (The Central Park Collection)





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