Grant Park Bronze Indian Statues Receive Restoration Work

Mike Krauser
September 20, 2018 - 1:17 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Restoration work is underway on the giant bronze statues depicting Indians on horseback that have been the gate-keepers to Grant Park for 90 years.  

They're called the Bowman and the Spearman. 

Contrary to what you may have heard, they never did have a bow or a spear.  The artist intended them to be implied. 

The statues were completed by Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic and installed in Grant Park in 1928. 

Conservators with locally-based Conservation of Sculpture and Objects Studio, or CSOS, are working on scaffolding that surrounds The Bowman, removing an old protective coating and corrosion with a laser.  

"The surface will not look perfect, this is not our goal," said Dr. Andrzej Dajnowski, the company's director. 

He said once complete, the statues will have various shades of brown.  

WBBM Newsradio/Mike Krauser

And he said public work like this invites questions. 

“What are you doing to my sculptures?" some will ask as they're walking by.   

His son, Bartek Dajnowsky, invented the laser process they’re using to vaporize the old coating. 

"Art conservation is definitely the perfect blend of art and science," he said.

WBBM Newsradio/Mike Krauser

He said he’s in awe when he’s around art like this. 

“Its very humbling and very rewarding," Dajnowsky said.

Once the old protective coating and corrosion is removed, they’ll put a new protective coating on the bronze statues that is expected to last more than 20 years.    

The work is expected to take about two months.  You can see video of the laser process on the WBBM Newsradio Facebook page.