Copper Miner (Iron Man sculpture)
A New Deal Depression-era sculpture by R. Phillips Sanderson, cast in concrete and covered with a thin layer of copper and completed in 1935. Bisbee native Lee Petrovitch posed for the sculpture, which commemorates the copper miners of Bisbee, and aims to portray ‘beauty, toil and simplicity’. Sanderson had moved to Bisbee during the Depression and worked as a commercial artist. He was paid $30.00 per month by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration during the six months it took to complete the statue.
Backstory and Context
Although commonly called the Iron Man, the Virile Copper Miner, or simply the Copper Man, the official name is the Courthouse Plaza Miners’ Monument. And it is neither iron or copper.
Despite the fact that it represents the city’s mining history, the sculpture is concrete covered with copper plating. When he created the work in 1935, local artist Raymond Philips Sanderson utilized a new technique and nearly 200 pounds of copper wire. He fed the wire through an oxyacetylene heated gun and sprayed it under pressure to coat the cement. The work stands in the County Courthouse Plaza, on the corner of Tombstone Canyon and Quality Hill.
"The New Deal in Arizona: Connections to Our Historic Landscape," University of Arizona, The New Deal in Arizona Chapter of the National New Deal Preservation Association. http://www.library.arizona.edu/newdeal/map.html