The Boy and Bear [Bronze]

Dublin Core


The Boy and Bear [Bronze]


Animal sculpture--20th century
Figure sculpture, American--20th century


Fredericks was one of six artists commissioned to design sculpture for Northland Shopping Center in Southfield. At the time it opened in 1954, Northland was the country's largest shopping center as well as the first regional shopping center. The architects planned for sculpture to play an important role in the shopping center's courts and malls. It is obvious that Fredericks designed this sculpture with children in mind. As with his other large animal sculptures, he gave the bear a benevolent quality so it would not frighten children. This bear could be a child's best friend. The contrast of the massive body of the bear with the almost frail body of the boy on his back emphasizes this special relationship. The bear's head is down, communicating only amicable intentions. Its erect ears and furrowed brow suggest interest in a viewer at this low eye level. Frederick's portrayal of the bear is not totally realistic, but like several of his other sculptures of animals, he has portrayed the bear as in a child's imagination. The sculpture at Northland still attracts as much attention today as when it was first placed there, pleasing children and adults alike.

Despite similarities between this sculpture and the characters in Walt Disney's movie The Jungle Book, Fredericks disavows any influence from Walt Disney or Rudyard Kipling, the author of The Jungle Book which was originally published in 1894. Fredericks has said that he simply wanted to make a sculpture of a boy and bear because it would be fun
In a display case at the front of the gallery is a smaller and earlier version of this sculpture in bronze. A cast similar to this is on display in the children's room of the Grosse Pointe Public Library.

Cast in 1988.


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

79" x 42" x 78"


Bronze full-scale

Catalog Number


Object Location

Sculpture Garden




Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998, “The Boy and Bear [Bronze],” Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, accessed April 12, 2024,