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Ann Arbor Eagle [Plaster]

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Ann Arbor Eagle [Plaster]


Animal sculpture--20th century


American Eagle
(Ann Arbor War Memorial Eagle), 1950
Quarter scale model for University of Michigan memorial
Bronze, cast 1988

Gift of Walter E. Walpole Family

The University of Michigan commissioned Fredericks to create a memorial in honor of "The men and women of the University" who died in World War II. The bronze sculpture, four times the size of this model, stands outside The University of Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Fredericks' explains the sculpture:

"In designing the stadium memorial, I tried primarily to convey two thoughts: first, the monumental American eagle in its attitude of alertness and strength, grasping the laurel wreath in its talons, symbolizes the eternal, unceasing protection of the honored memory of those who gave their lives for our country; secondly, through the powerful, dynamic forms and outline, I attempted to represent the strength, courage and vitality of the young men and women to whom it is dedicated."

The gift of a laurel wreath usually is representative of honor after a battle.


Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998




Use of this image requires permission from the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum


University Center (Mich.)

Sculpture Item Type Metadata

Physical Dimensions

31" x 24" x 28"



Catalog Number


Object Location

Main Exhibit Gallery


03/22/1989 gifted to MFSM


The eagle is ready to pounce on an unsuspecting prey. The head is lowered and the talons are extended.

Cast by Roman Bronze Works

MF, Sculptor copy:
The War Memorial in the United States
The war memorial as an expression of proud and tragic memories came into prominence as a theme of sculpture after the Civil War. Often that tragedy was represented in terms of the individual soldier-the bronze infantryman quietly standing guard-an image which spoke so eloquently to our country that it was repeated in a thousand towns and villages. In more heroic form, the Civil War was commemorated by a general on horseback, as if at the head of his volunteer soldiers. In the vast wars of our century the individual was submerged and generals no longer rode at the head of their troops. Memories of those who served were commemorated impersonally by a flame, a sports stadium, a civic auditorium. Fredericks planned one such dramatic, impersonal commemoration of Bataan, but it was never executed.
When asked to do a war memorial for the University of Michigan in 1950, he turned again to the symbolic eagle, which he had used in the Veterans Memorial Building in Detroit. The American Eagle in Ann Arbor is a fierce, combative image of courage and strength. A heroic bronze, poised on its pedestal, it shows how far he had come in expressive power from the simple grace of his early fountain figures. The observer who walks around this bronze sees a continuously changing, merging series of views, the work maintaining its vigor and meaning throughout. This is not a one- or four-sided composition but a kinetic, continuously unfolding design.

Molly Barth copy:
Down below, on this pedestal is The Victory Eagle. This is a bronze cast of the quarter-scale model of the Eagle that was made for the University of Michigan. The talons are grasping a wreath. That is for strength and victory. This is a World War II memorial. It is right outside the University of Michigan football stadium.
If you compare this eagle with the eagle between John F. Kennedy and the Spirit of Detroit head, you can see how the styles are different. The American Eagle is very geometric and angular, while the University of Michigan Eagle is more naturalistic. They're both so alive. As you walk around the Victory Eagle his tremendous energy is apparent from many different views. For sculpture in the round to be successful, it generally must "work" from more than one viewpoint. The University of Michigan Eagle is a good example of sculpture which presents good views from multiple angles.

-original bronze is 12 feet in size

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