As the passionate creator of some of the world's largest sculptures, American artist Gutzon Borglum (1867–1941) studied in San Francisco and Paris where he was inspired by the great Auguste Rodin.
Borglum accepted his first commission in 1901, that of the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the rotunda of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
About life's grandeur, the sensitive Borglum once said: "The heavy pipes in an organ will, rightly played... make everything else on Earth seem unimportant."
He thought big and dreamed big. His most famous work was the colossal stone carving on the granite cliffs of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of Keystone, South Dakota, about 25 miles southwest of Rapid City. The massive sculpture honored Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
"(Borglum) was a hyperactive man who traveled in the middle of a self-generated whirlwind," explained biographer Rex Allan Smith about the artist who called his critics "horseflies."
With a crew of 400, Borglum worked for 14 years (1927-1941) on the "Shrine of Democracy"-- blasting, drilling, and carving the 60-foot faces (from forehead to chin) into the top of the 6,000-foot mountain.
According to Borglum, the Memorial "built into, cut into, the crust of this Earth so that those records would have to melt or by wind be worn to dust before the record... could, as Lincoln said, 'perish from the Earth.'"
Carving one bust at a time, Borglum completed the first face, of Washington, in 1930. The artist said at the dedication, "Let us place there, carved high, as close to the heavens as we can, the words of our leaders, their faces, to show posterity what manner of men they were."
With volume and boldness, create.