A prime example of Polasek’s mastery of the human form, the dramatically modeled figure of the Sower has a classically inspired face and a strong, muscular body. Using as his inspiration the parable of Jesus about the sower – “a sower went forth to sow” – Polasek’s interpretation shows a man scattering the seed of good throughout the world. Sower won an Honorable Mention in the spring 1913 Paris Salon.
Man Carving His Own Destiny
1908, Archival Photo
“…all at once the idea took concrete form before his mind’s eye: Man, blindly hewing his way out of darkness, carving his own destiny! (Polasek) could hardly wait to get home to start his composition. Man, chiseling himself, struggling to hack out his own character, carving his future by the effort of his will – it was part of his life, just what he himself had done, and into this composition he threw his whole soul, expressing himself more fully than he had ever done before.” Sherwood, Ruth. Carving His Own Destiny. Chicago: Ralph Fletcher Seymour, 1954, p. 178.
Created as the female companion to Man Carving His Own Destiny, Polasek saw woman, at last breaking through the clouds of ignorance and superstition into the full light of freedom. Art critic Dorothy Grafly (daughter of Polasek’s mentor, Charles Grafly) wrote the following observation in the winter of 1925 after Unfettered was awarded a top prize at the Philadelphia Annual Exhibition: “In making the award, the jury of the Fairmount Park Art Association is to be congratulated, for not only has it set a high standard, but it has redeemed in some measure the prestige of the old Academy.”