Charles L. Gunzinger

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Charles L. Gunzinger, Clay Sculpture, "The Dying Lion Of Luzerne"

After The Lion Of Lucerne, Designed By Bertel Thorvaldsen

Photograph By Lester C. Akeley In July 1915


The Lion Of Lucerne, Switzerland

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Helvetiorum Fidei ac Virtuti

To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss

The monument commemorates the Swiss Guard that defended the Tuileries Palace in Paris, and the French King Louis XVI from the revolutionary mob during the evening, August 10, 1792. The lion's paw covers the shield bearing the fleur-de-lis of the monarchy, another shield shows the coat of arms of Switzerland. The design is by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, and hewn by German stonecarver Lukas Ahorn during 1820-1821 in a former sandstone quarry.

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Jean Duplessis-Bertaux

Prise Du Palais Des Tuileries


the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world . . .

The Lion lies in his lair in the perpendicular face of a low cliff -- for he is carved from the living rock of the cliff. His size is colossal, his attitude is noble. His head is bowed, the broken spear is sticking in his shoulder, his protecting paw rests upon the lilies of France. Vines hang down the cliff and wave in the wind, and a clear stream trickles from above and empties into a pond at the base, and in the smooth surface of the pond the lion is mirrored, among the water-lilies. Around about are green trees and grass. The place is a sheltered, reposeful woodland nook, remote from noise and stir and confusion -- and all this is fitting, for lions do die in such places, and not on granite pedestals in public squares fenced with fancy iron railings. The Lion of Lucerne would be impressive anywhere, but nowhere so impressive as where he is.

Mark Twain, Samuel Langhorne Clemens

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Charles L. Gunzinger's Sculpture In Clay, "The Dying Lion Of Luzerne"

Under Wantastiquet, Mountain Road, Hinsdale, New Hampshire

Charles L. Gunzinger

Charles Louis Gunzinger, born in Switzerland in 1872 to Joseph G. Gunzinger and his wife Katharine, studied for an artist in Paris and in Colmar, Germany with Professor Kuntz before emigrating with his family to the United States in 1907. He married Caroline Baldinger on October 7, 1911 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and joined his brother August in employment at the Jacob Estey organ works.

Charles L. Gunzinger did excellent work in clay, and could be seen in the fields, painting and sketching. During June 1915, Gunzinger worked on his clay bank sculpture "The Healing Touch", depicting an angel aiding a wounded soldier. During the first week in July, crowds from Brattleboro came to see the completed reproduction of "The Dying Lion of Luzerne".

This sculpture stood along the Mountain Road near the house of Carl V. Ebbighausen, who had emigrated from Germany in 1883. His family included his wife Thekla, or Thekele E., and his children Carla, Charles Henry, Henry F., Fred, and Herman P. Ebbighausen.

When Charles L. Gunzinger was working on these clay sculptures in the summer of 1915, France and Germany were at war. The United States had not yet been betrayed into the conflagration. Considering that Ebbighausen approved the sculpture on his land, there were clear loyalties at work in this complicated situation of nations in conflict, and the history of the Swiss Guard in the French Revolution.

Charles Gunzinger died in Brattleboro on Sunday, October 21, 1917, and was buried at St. Joseph's Cemetery. Lester C. Akeley, his friend the photographer, was one of the four bearers at the service by Rev. Father McMahon of St. Michael's Church.

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Prometheus Bringing Fire, Clay Sculpture, Charles L. Gunzinger


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