L'Enfant - Mother's statue

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L'enfant was sculpted by Roger Bloche in 1899 and won second prize at a Paris Art Show in the first part of the 20th Century - 1900s. It was first located on the Mother's Walk in Phillips Park. It is now located at the intersection of Overbrook Boulevard and Ravilla Street.

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Carrick Mural - A reflection on the L'enfant theme the mural currrently being painted on Vern's Electric Building is a current version of this 1899 sculture. Our current mother and child depicts modern symbolism but links our past with our most treasured art in the community.

Scouts uncover 19th-century sculpture in Carrick

Article Link to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Wednesday, August 15, 2001

By Jackie Day

A Boy Scout who rediscovered one of Carrick's most enduring treasures became determined to resurrect the life-sized statue obscured by decades of overgrown shrubbery and weeds.

"I always wondered what it was," Steven Horhut, 15, said of the figure he first noticed at age 5 on an island-divide between Overbrook Boulevard and Ravilla Avenue. "All I remember was a big circle of bushes with a head sticking out of the top."

It wasn't until his recent hunt for a community service Scout project that he approached the monument for the first time. His hunt was over after he beheld "L'Enfant," an 1899 bronze sculpture of a woman caressing her child. But his work had only begun.

Horhut developed an itinerary, organized a team of fellow Scouts for assistance, provided lunch and snacks for the crew and managed the week-long, seven-hour daily work schedule until the project's completion last week.

The team uprooted a row of 7-foot shrubbery, landscaped the area surrounding the statue and repaired its deteriorating stone and mortar foundation.

"It was overwhelming to begin with, but we just took it one step at a time until it got to the point it is now," Horhut said.

His helpers from Troop 224 were Paul Bourdess, Tim Davis, Danny White, Tony Amrhein, Jim O'Mara and Vince Schiarelli. Assistance also came from city employees, who removed debris and supplied a generator and power tools for grinding and removal of the stone's mortar. His father, Orest Horhut, helped guide him, especially in locating the statue's rightful owner.

Countless telephone calls, including being shuffled between various departments, officials and voice mail messages, provided the youth his first lesson in city politics.

While city officials verified the statue's ownership, its origin remains a mystery because they found no record of acquisition of the 19th-century sculpture by French artist Paul Roger-Bloche, whose name is inscribed on the statue.

The only surviving knowledge in city archives dates back to around 1928, when "L'Enfant" was removed from storage and placed at the entrance of Phillips Park by the Mothers' Club of Carrick.

When the club, founded in 1913, relocated its headquarters to Overbrook Boulevard in 1963, the statute was delivered to its present location across from the clubhouse. But no current members could recall the transfer, former President Pearl Gansberger said.

The nonprofit club raises money for charitable contributions through weekly card parties. Its most recent endeavor was to provide five $300 college scholarships last fall for Carrick High School students.

The club welcomes the Scouts' effort to resurrect the hidden statue. "Nobody ever knew it was there before," Gansberger said.

Horhut's father said the most common remark from residents and countless passers-by has been, "Oh! Is that what it looks like?"

Steven Horhut's efforts left him with a sense of accomplishment and one step closer to becoming an Eagle Scout, a goal he has prized since he became a Tiger Cub in the first grade.

He said his claim from the project goes beyond the badge, "Scouting is a way of life. It grows on you."

Jackie Day is a free-lance writer.

Comments to the statue photo located on the web site panoramio:

Carol Hamilton said: This statue was originally in Phillips Park or as we called it Carrick Park on Spokane Ave, near Carrick High School. It was at the beginning of what we called the Mother's Path, a tree lined path that led to the interior of Phillips Park and the swimming pool. It has been 45 years since I have seen this statue. It brings back memories. I used to climb on it. What is the location now? cjhamilton08@hotmail.com

Place to Celebrate Mother's Day

Take Mom for a Sunday drive on Mother's Day (May 12) and check out L'Enfant, a little-known but sublime sculpture tucked away in the South Hills. How French sculptor Paul Roger-Bloche's 1899 life-size bronze of a woman and child got to Pittsburgh is a mystery. Discovering Pittsburgh's Sculpture (Vernon Gay, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1983) describes its entry into local history when the Mothers' Club of Carrick placed it at the entrance to Phillips Park around 1928. It survived a move, and was dedicated at its current site, Overbrook Boulevard and Ravella Avenue, Carrick, in 1967.

Written for the Concord Chronicals a publication by Concord Elementary School

Website documentation

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L’Enfant – a reminder of a mother’s love for her child everyday in Carrick

By John Rudiak, Carrick-Overbrook Historical Society

Our cherished bronze sculpture rests on a traffic island at the intersection of Overbrook Boulevard and Ravilla Street and is simply named “L’Enfant” or “The Child.” We also refer to it as “The Mother and Child” and we love them dearly. A very famous French artist named Roger Bloche sculpted it in 1899 and it garnered second prize at a Paris Art Show in the first part of the 20th Century - 1900s. As the mother cradles and lovingly kisses her child, she seems to come alive to anyone who observes them for long. What is she thinking as she looks at her child? Is the baby healthy, sick, or just sleeping? What is the story behind the sculpture? Your imagination is what the artist wants you to think and ask yourself; it is up to you to decide. What do you think?

But how did L’Enfant come to Carrick? This is a mystery. We know the City of Pittsburgh owns the statue but they have no record of how it was acquired and the only record dates back to 1928 when the Mothers Club of Carrick formally adopted it and put it on the Mothers Walk in Phillips Park. The Mothers Club was a group of women who did philanthropic deeds in Carrick for the good of the community beginning in 1913. In 1963, together with the park being changed and the Mothers Club house taken to build onto Carrick High School, they moved it to its present location. We think they took their beloved L’Enfant to watch over it below their new house.

The Mothers Club disbanded in the 1980s and no one was taking responsibility of the island. So in 2001 Boy Scout Troop 224, with the help of the City Public Works, cleaned the weeds and finally we saw our statue again. Today several residents lovingly take care of the flowers and grass to show off our anonymous gift from France. If you see them, give them a big “Bonjour” and a “Merci” for their hard work.