The Seurat statues at Credit Island Park in Davenport have taken their knocks but they stubbornly survive. The latest “incident” is that the man with a cane has lost his head — literally.
If that is not serious enough, a nearby statue of a woman has been shot. The bullet went through her chest and exited her back, leaving 2-inch holes.
“This has been unfortunate, but a new man will be carved and the bullet hole patched,” says Kathy Wine, who is in charge of the Seurats for River Action Inc., sponsors and financers of the statues.
THE 10 WOOD STATUES were inspired by the Georges Seurat painting, “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” They were carved and put in place in 1998. Along with admiration, they have withstood public rhubarb and three major facelifts.
Lately, I’ve studied them closely. More work is certain and needed.
The background of the beheading is iffy. Kathy is convinced the wood rotted through the man with the top hat and cane, causing his head to fall off — although all the statues were given a heavy-duty urethane finish in 2010 to prevent such things from happening. To me, the head looks to have been pushed or knocked off its body; its neck is splintered.
THE STATUES were carved by Thom Gleich who is not so sure of the beheading. “I’ve seen kids playing around those statues and climbing on them,” he says. “I can’t be sure what happened; maybe it was knocked off accidentally or on purpose. But rotting is probable; I can’t say.”
Repeatedly, some have questioned placement of the statues on Credit Island, overlooking an algae encrusted slough, claiming they should be in a more visible location. Seve Ghose, who recently departed as parks director, insisted the statues belonged inside.
“Never, never. They were meant to be outside pieces,” says Kathy adamantly.
Dale Major, manager for park operations in Davenport, is hand’s off on the Seurat statues. He says, “That is something handled by Kathy Wine.”
Craig Malin, city administrator, agrees: “The city provides the space; the statues are up to River Action.”
Kathy is personally storing the head of the man with a cane. He still stands, minus his head, a rather odd figure in a park that’s had its ups and downs.
Contact Bill Wundram at 563-383-2249 or firstname.lastname@example.org.