Erected in Honor of
Born in the village of St. Charles
Idaho, March 25, 1867
He is internationally known for
his painting and sculptoring
and most famous for Mount
Rushmore National Monument
Gutzon Borglum: the artist and the man
In the winter of 1866-67, Danish Mormon emigrants Jens and Ida Borglum were traveling west when bad weather forced them to take refuge in a one-room cabin. In March, baby Gutzon arrived ahead of the spring thaw, giving St. Charles the right to claim the future sculptor as a native son. The Borglum family moved to Utah, then to the Midwest when Gutzon was a young child. At an early age, Gutzon knew he wanted to be an artist and the young man moved to California for art school.
A humble beginning
In a 1921 letter to Miss Douglas Hilts, County Superintendent in Gooding, ID, Gutzon stated, "They (his parents) told me...I was born west of Bear Lake, up in the mountains. My memory is that it was about 7,000 feet above sea level; and that they were caught there by winter weather and spent the winter in a log or sod cabin..."
Husband and father
In 1889, Gutzon married his first wife, painter Lisa Putnam, in Los Angeles. The couple traveled in Europe
where they socialized with artists and heads of state. They had no children and the marriage ended in divorce.
Gutzon married Mary Montgomery in 1909. They settled on a farm in Connecticut and had two children, James Lincoln (1912-1986) and Mary Ellis (1916-2002).
A family passion
Gutzon, his brother Solon and their half brothers and sisters all showed a talent for art, but only Gutzon and Solon became world-renowned sculptors. Horses were favorite subjects of the brothers.
Gutzon's son, Lincoln, inherited his father's passion and completed the work on Mount Rushmore after his father's death.
(sidebar on right:)
A talented sculptor, Gutzon earned a national reputation for his colossal works in stone, bronze, and metal. His skill in handling monumental works remains a lasting legacy in American art.
A man with monumental talent
"A monument's dimensions should be determined by the importance to civilization of the events commemorated..." - Gutzon Borglum
Gutzon Borglum (1867-1941) was a prolific American painter and sculptor of stone and bronze with a talent for creating large-scale public monuments. Borglum is best known for designing the massive memorial to Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln on Mount Rushmore in South
Dakota. The artist felt that these four great men epitomized America's spirit and ideals.
"These records will endure until the wind and the rain alone shall wear them away." Gutzon Borglum
A creative career
Many of his sculptures were of civilian and military figures and horses. President Abraham Lincoln was also a favorite subject. The sculptures at he left (sidebar on left) are some of Borglum's more famous works.
Father and son
Gutzon was 60 years old in 1927 when he began the task that his son, Lincoln, would complete several months after his death in 1941. Much of the work was done during the Great Depression, offering some 400 laborers a paycheck and a chance to be part of history. Lincoln began working on his father's crew for no pay. By 1937, he functioned as the project sculptor in his father's absence. In 1938, he was promoted to project superintendent.
Lincoln oversaw the monument's completion after Gutzon's death and served as the first superintendent of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial (1941-1944)