From His Footprints Flowed A River

This sculpture stands just off of Illinois Route 25, on the former estate of George and Nelle Fabyan.  Like much of the diverse, and sometimes eccentric, statuary on the grounds, this work is likely attributed to the Fabyan's resident sculptor, Silvio Silvestri.

I have long been curious about the Fabyan Indian statue, but not just because it seems a little bit disconnected from everything else in the park.  In particular, I often wonder if it influenced, or was influenced by, The Eternal Indian (more commonly referred to as the Blackhawk Statue) by Lorado Taft.  Taft's towering statue, dedicated in 1911, stands on the banks of the Rock River in Oregon, Illinois, on land that was once part of the Eagle's Nest Art Colony.

The Colony itself operated on the summer estate of Wallace Heckman, a prominent Chicago attorney and generous patron of the arts.  Like Fabyan, Heckman was a successful businessman, and noted for his diverse interests.   Both men were profiled by Halliday Witherspoon in his book, Men of Illinois (1902), so perhaps it is not entirely unlikely the men knew or knew of each of other. 

Interestingly, the two statues may have a remote, six-degrees-of-separation sort of connection.  The renowned sculptor and medalist, Trygve Rovelstad, studied art at the studio on the Fabyan estate upon graduating from Elgin High School in 1922.  He later worked for Taft at his Midway Studio in Chicago.

What, if any, real connection which may exist between the two pieces, I cannot know for sure, but I confess that in my imagination, the vision of two wealthy eccentrics trying to outdo each via sculpture makes for an amusing daydream.