A Sculptor of Underrepresented Communities?

Douglas Tilden

Douglas Tilden was born on May 1st in 1860 and became a world famous sculptor whose artworks stand in many parts of San Francisco, Berkeley, and the Bay Area. Tilden became deaf at the age of four because he had contracted a severe case of scarlet fever. This did not stop him from becoming incredibly famous. Tilden attended the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley that is now in Fremont and went on to study at the University of California Berkeley. After studying in Paris under another deaf sculptor by the name of Paul Chopin, he returned to the bay area where much of his artwork is displayed. After a difficult marriage with Elizabeth “Bessie” Cole, a former student of his who was also deaf, he passed away on August 5th of 1935. One of Tilden’s sculptures: Bear Hunt, made in 1892, depicts a bear protecting her cub and wrestling two Native Americans. The sculpture Bear Hunt is featured in the California School for the Deaf in Fremont. Tilden’s sculptor Football Players released in 1900, stands on the University of California, Berkeley campus, it depicts two young, male, football players. One of the football players is “injured and resting on the shoulder of another and the other is bandaging his wounds.” Some have said that this sculpture demonstrates “intimate male bonding in sports as of interdependence between the players.” Many others in the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transexual/Trangendered Queer Community believe that Tilden displayed a bit of homoeroticism in his art work because “they feature young athletic men who are often unclothed.” Some of the community has “adopted the statue as representing the best ideal of the visible queer community” on the campus of UC Berkeley. Tilden’s artwork is well known and praised by many in the Bay Area and he was buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

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Yesenia Checa, “A Sculptor of Underrepresented Communities?,” Street Stories: Oakland, accessed October 16, 2018, http://streetstoriesoakland.com/items/show/18.

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