Boy and Bear, [Plaster]

Dublin Core


Boy and Bear, [Plaster]


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


Fredericks was one of six artists commissioned by the J.L. Hudson Company to design sculpture for Northland Center in Southfield, Michigan. At the time it opened in 1954, Northland was the country’s largest shopping center as well as the first regional shopping center. In a 1981 National Archives Interview, Fredericks states:
“Well, as you know, the first shopping mall was Victor’s Gruen’s Northland; that was the first one in the world, I guess. He and his staff were very art conscious and they thought that sculpture would really enhance the architecture and they were right because it made architecture more personal and related to people better. People don’t like to go shopping in just a cement building, you know; they really don’t. If it has something that appeals to their eye and is more friendly and warm and maybe has a little fun connected with it I think they enjoy it more. That was the reason I did The Bear and the Boy there; that was the first piece ever done for a shopping center. I wanted to reach people who would come there to shop and the people who come there to shop basically are people, mothers and fathers, especially mothers with their children and I think over the years it’s attracted an awful of children and that attracts mothers, as mothers buy dresses, you know. So it worked. The same with the Lion and the Mouse.”
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. A bronze of this scale can be found in the Sculpture Garden.
The Northland sculpture was carved in limestone and the boy is cast in bronze and is gold-plated.


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

11.75" h



Catalog Number


Object Location

Sculptors Studio


11/15/2000 gifted to MFSM

March/April 2003 relocated to Sculptor's Studio




Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998, “Boy and Bear, [Plaster],” Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, accessed April 23, 2024,