Artists Past & Present

Featured Artist

Bryant Baker, 1881-1970

Feature Image

Bryant Baker was born on 8 July 1881 in London, England, the son and grandson of sculptors and stone carvers and the brother of sculptor Robert Baker. He was apprenticed to his father and learned the trade while engaging in mainly ecclesiastic and architectural projects — notably at Beverley Minister and the Victoria and Albert Museum. From 1901 until 1907 he studied at the City and Guild Technical Institute followed by four years at the Royal Academy of Arts. At an exhibition there in 1910 his work was brought to the attention of Queen Alexandra, which in turn led to commissions to sculpt a portrait bust and later a life sized statue of Edward VII and later a bust of Prince Olaf of Norway.


In 1916, Baker followed his brother Robert to America and was rewarded with a number of commissions, particularly portraits.


In 1928 Baker won the public competition over eleven other sculptors to create the Pioneer Woman statue for Ponca City, Oklahoma. The statue was sponsored by Oklahoma millionaire oilman E. W. Marland. Unveiled in a public ceremony in 1930, the statue is 27 feet (8.2 m) high and weighs 12,000 pounds.


Baker continued producing sculpture, both for public exhibition and for private collections almost up until his death in 1970. Shortly thereafter the contents of his New York studio were purchased and moved to the E. W. Marland Mansion (by that time a city owned museum) in Ponca City where it is on display.