A new life-sized bronze sculpture of Edsel and Eleanor Ford was unveiled at Ford House on June 13, 2016. It is a beautiful tribute to the Fords' legacy and honors the couple’s 100th wedding anniversary. The sculpture of the pair walking arm-in-arm was placed in the estate’s garden, where Edsel and Eleanor enjoyed spending time together.
“From the original clay models to the molding and foundry processes, it took a team of nearly 20 people to capture Edsel and Eleanor’s spirit and disposition in the sculpture – and we think we’ve achieved just that!” said Ivan Schwartz of Studio EIS, who created the new sculpture.
“The love between my grandparents is what forged the Ford family, and I am delighted to see their legacy commemorated in a monument for generations of family and visitors to enjoy,” said Edsel B. Ford II (left), chairman of the Ford House board of trustees.
Members of the Ford Family were present for the unveiling, including (from left) Ellie Ford, Lynn Ford Alandt, Lindsey Buhl, Martha Firestone Ford and Edsel Ford II.
The life-sized sculptures were created by Studio EIS, a Brooklyn, NY, team of sculptors and visual storytellers who for 40 years have been making works in bronze to represent sports icons and historical figures, including Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
The EIS team used the “lost wax” process to create the bronze sculptures. That involves first sculpting in clay, the creating a mold that will be taken to a foundry to be cast in bronze. The process takes many months.
For the Fords, Ivan Schwartz, the studio’s founder and director, says the team studied video, photographs and historical artifacts to put together designs for the statue. “We had to glean all the historical information we could -- heights, weights, style of clothing, ages, exact year, in addition to all the best references that we could find from portraits,” Schwartz says.
This is one of the historic images of Eleanor and Edsel Ford the team from Studio EIS used to create the bronzes. Ivan Schwartz of Studio EIS says there is “extraordinary craft” required from the sculptors working to create these original works. “We are careful in what we do.” Visit Ford House this summer to see the finished work for yourself.
The finished sculpture was placed on the Ford House estate near the lagoon – in the gardens of the estate where Eleanor and Edsel Ford raised their family and enjoyed many happy times together.
Studio EIS in Brooklyn has an impressive roster of clients of top museums and historical attractions. “For any project, we spend so much time trying to get it right,” Schwartz added. “I’ve measured Abraham Lincoln’s hat, Thomas Jefferson’s clothing. We try to use real artifacts for the basis of creating these projects.”
VIDEO: This shows the "lost wax" casting process similar to what was used to create the bronze sculptures of the Fords.
“The finished piece is really quite stunning. You can see the craftsmanship that went into every step of the process,” says Ivan Schwartz of Studio EIS.