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Oval with Points

Oval with Points

Princeton University. Property of the Trustees of Princeton University.

Source: Sculpture of Princeton University, Princeton University, 2011

From the introductory page of Sculpture of Princeton University

Princeton is home to one of the country’s most significant collections of 20th- and now 21st-century sculpture. Following in the centuries-old tradition of civic statuary and public monuments, the collection seeks to place extraordinary and durable works of art in the path of everyday life for members of the Princeton University community and visitors to this famously beautiful and historic campus.

At the core of the collection are works assembled for the John B. Putnam Jr. Memorial Collection, funded by an anonymous benefactor and named for the World War II fighter pilot and member of Princeton’s Class of 1945 who succeeded in 53 aerial missions before dying in a crash in 1944, aged 23.

Like all great works of public art, the sculpture distributed across the Princeton campus embodies the dreams, hopes, and desires of the community in which it appears. Asserting the varied possibilities of meaning in the public realm, subject to the regard of both the novice viewer and the seasoned art scholar, the collection has come to reflect the energies of generations, with new works added periodically to reflect the continuing strivings of many of the greatest artists of the past and present. These sculptures add brilliantly to what Lewis Thomas, Class of 1933, termed “the look and the feel of an institution deliberately designed for thinking and kept that way through the years.” As noted by William G. Bowen, president of Princeton from 1972 to 1988, in the first edition of this handbook, “the collection is a source of vitality, a reminder of the possibilities of form, for each of us as we walk on the campus. It is, I think, the ideal complement to the natural beauty of this University, an added pleasure in the daily lives of each of us.”

James Christen Steward Director, Princeton University Art Museum

Here is the complete text of Sculpture of Princeton University

Curator's note: Go here for the story of an alum's visit to Henry Moore's studio.