Self Portrait 

by Edward J. Fraughton

Original Working Model for Monument
Price: $45,000
Status: Available
Size: 43 inches high
Series: 30
Media: Cast Bronze 

Wyoming Centennial Edition
Price: $12,500
Status: Available
Size: 19 inches high
Series: 60
Media: Cast Bronze 

The Spirit of Wyoming model was selected in a 1978 competition against some 23 works. The finished monument was completed and placed on the Wyoming State Capitol grounds in 1986.

The enlargement of the model into monumental scale was to have received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant for $50,000 to match state funding. However, because the State chose to select its own project rather than have the selection process controlled by NEA (even though the state acted within full compliance of the NEA guidelines), the NEA reduced its entitlement to $20,000. In the end, no money was ever forthcoming from NEA, so the monument was totally funded with state and private funds.

At the time of the monumentís creation, the Director of the Wyoming Arts Council mentioned that I should be prepared for a lot of controversy concerning the monument. When I asked, "Why?" I was told, "Because every public art project is surrounded by controversy. But donít worry,Ē the Director assured me, ďthe controversy eventually subsides after people get used to seeing the work in place." I commented that I didnít believe there would be any controversy in this case. When asked why I believed that, I said, "The idea that controversy is inevitable with the placing of public art is a myth. Controversy comes about mainly because abstract art is so often forced upon a disapproving public. This is not a controversial piece. It was created and named to represent the independent spirit and tenacity of the people of Wyoming - both its early settlers and these who currently live in the state. Since it specifically represents the people of Wyoming, I predict that this piece will never be controversial." And it never was.

I am indeed proud of The Spirit of Wyoming. To me, it represents one of my finest achievements. Unlike any other bucking bronco, the composition was designed to stand like an inverted pyramid, 19 feet high including its pedestal. It is full of high action, and whether or not the rider will stay on the horse is uncertain. Horse and rider move as one.

Thanks to the five major private donors who assisted the State of Wyoming in creating this monument, it has become a major focal point of the Capitol grounds. In 1990, to help celebrate the Wyoming State Centennial, a special Centennial Edition in slightly smaller scale to the original working model was also created and marketed.




Copyright © 2006 Edward J. Fraughton All Rights Reserved