In visiting, a few days since, the work-room of Kneeland, we were struck with surprise and regret, that a talent so strong, so cordial, and capable of high development, should want opportunity and be almost a stranger to fame.
His bust of Mr. Mapes bears evidence of great power in seizing both the secret and the details of character. It shows keen intuitions, large and genial sympathies and a free hand that only wants the best occasions for its practice.
The bust of Mr. Mapes afforded a subject of great range, from the variety and balance of developments. This may be seen in the Exhibition of the Academy of Design, but to more advantage in the Artist’s room, corner of Broadway and Chambers-street. The bust of Ericcson is also there.—This subject too is a fine one for the concentration and force both physical and mental, which it exhibits.
We wish that some of the wealthy magnates of New-York, who wish to see themselves or fair wives or daughters immortalized in marble, would take a look at these busts. Kneeland needs employment in the marble, but he would well requite him who furnished it. We understand that many houses here order pictures and statuary as “furniture;” we are not inclined to ridicule this fashion, vulgar though it be to consider beautiful objects merely as means of display, since opportunity of education may thus be afforded to genius, and the children from familiar acquaintance may learn the secret, and win the true benefit of these works, which their parents can only pay for and show off to visitors as the most expensive luxury of a handsome establishment. We will confess that he has a right to the use of money who gives such an artist as Kneeland the chance to express his generous thoughts and cast over future ages the light of his cheerful eye.*
“Kneeland, the Sculptor.” New-York Daily Tribune, 3 May 1845, p. 2.