The Family statue
Backstory and Context
This sculpture was originally designed by prominent artist William Zorach as a monument to a Texas pioneers. His design was selected for a public monument on the Texas State College for Women campus in Denton to mark the centennial of the Texas Republic. Texas residents were outraged that the State Board of Control intended to place a nude family grouping on the campus of the state women's college. Some argued that the figures resembled apes. Others declared that nude sculpture did not belong on a women's college campus. In response to this public outcry, the state broke its contract with Zorach and replaced it with a more demure pioneer woman sculpted by Leo Friedlander.
Zorach's design was later renamed "The Family" and cast in heroic size amid the avant-garde art movement of the 1960s for Columbia Savings bank. Castings were placed in a niche specially designed for it in the Mining Exchange Building in downtown Colorado Springs and another at the bank's Pueblo, Colorado, office. The work was featured prominently in Columbia Savings advertising in the late 1960s:
“William Zorach sculpted this bronze Family to symbolize strength and unity … To us they [also] symbolize the idea upon which we have built our business. The idea is this: You should get something more than efficiency from a savings and loan association or a bank. … And while you may not save with us simply because of our antiques and art, you might because we make saving an art.”1
Three decades after they were installed in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, Zorach’s statues were removed from the banks that had once so proudly displayed them. The sculpture from Colorado Springs' Mining Exchange Building was sold at auction. The sculpture that once stood in Pueblo was restored and now stands in front of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center in Colorado Springs.
1 “The Beautiful Difference in Savings...” Colorado Springs Gazette - Telegraph, September 8, 1968.
Baur, John I. H. William Zorach. Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., 1959.
Thurman, Nita. “Original TWU Pioneer Statue Caused a Statewide Hoopla.” Denton Record-Chronicle February 15, 2006.
Asakawa, Gil. “Party Arty/ When the Depot Arts District Celebrates, Everyone Is Invited.” Colorado Springs Gazette - Telegraph July 21, 1995.
Fallon, D’Arcy. “The Family’ Finds Happy Home at Fine Arts Center/ Statue Doesn’t Stand Still.” Colorado Springs Gazette - Telegraph December 22, 1993.
Pitts, Greg. “Columbia Savings Celebrates 50 Years in Pueblo.” Pueblo Chieftain March 1, 1992.
“‘Deep Fund of Humanity’ Enriches Zorach’s Work.” Colorado Springs Gazette - Telegraph, December 12, 1964.
Prescott, Cynthia Culver. Pioneer Mother Monuments: Constructing Cultural Memory. University of Oklahoma Press, 2019.
Pioneer Monuments in the American West