The Princeton Tiger by Charles R. Knight
A tradition of pride
This landmark sculpture has steadfastly watched over Princeton’s Palmer Square for more than 75 years. The Princeton Tiger is now being lovingly cast in solid bronze at the original size the artist created it. This will be a strictly limited edition of 250 individually numbered pieces, measuring nearly three feet long and weighing approximately 100 pounds. Proudly produced in association with the Charles R. Knight Estate.
A Tradition of Excellence
FPG has been one of the premiere publishers of contemporary art for 30 years. In 2019, the company, best-known for producing the highest quality books, posters, trading cards, and limited edition prints, will enter into the fine art marketplace, creating only the finest quality bronze statues. Charles R. Knight's wonderful work The Princeton Tiger will lead off this exciting new line of bronzes.
Charles R. Knight holds a unique place among American artists. As much a zoologist as an artist, he is responsible for the authoritative and dramatic images of our ancient past that have inspired generations of students and adults. Beginning in the 1890s, Knight utilized his extensive knowledge of animal anatomy and his ability to capture motion and behavior of living animals, both in zoos and in the wild, in a collaborative effort with paleontologists to visualize and to illustrate antecedents of current species, prehistoric creatures and early man. Knight’s great murals in this genre are to be found in America’s major natural history museums: the Field Museum in Chicago, the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, to name but a few.
Knight’s interest and involvement with wild cats was life-long. Sheets of studies record the artist’s fascination with their habits, activities, and behavior – particularly of tigers, which held a special place in the artist’s life. Paintings and watercolors of tigers included many varieties, both extant and extinct (such as his celebrated depictions of Smilodon).
Knight’s great sponsor and patron was the geologist and paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn (1857-1935), who was Professor of Zoology at Princeton and from 1891, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History. An influential and independently wealthy man, Osborn became President of the American Museum in 1908, serving in that capacity until his retirement in 1933.
Osborn was a Princeton alumnus (Class of 1877) and in 1923 conceived of Knight painting a large canvas of a tiger for display at the Nassau Inn in Princeton. Knight’s painting, titled The Princeton Tiger, presents a contemplative recumbent tiger by the banks of a river. The painting presents a calm, meditative tiger which seems to mask its inner life.
Shortly after going on exhibition at the Nassau Inn in Princeton, the painting was slightly damaged, and Osborn asked Knight to repair the work. A 1925 letter from Osborn to Edgar Palmer, a tireless benefactor of both the University and town, concerns the painting: I have, as you know, for many years been a friend and patron of the animal artist, painter, and sculptor, Mr. Charles R. Knight, who has executed some magnificent pieces of work both in painting and in sculpture for this Museum [the American Museum of Natural History]. In fact, we have recently celebrated his twenty-fifth anniversary here with a fine retrospective exhibit of extinct animals. Mr. Knight’s special favorite among living animals are the members of the cat family, especially the tiger. I think he is the closest student and observer of the tiger in this country.
In 1943, Knight lovingly completed a magnificent, nearly-three-foot-long sculpture of his The Princeton Tiger oil painting. This majestic work was then cast as a larger-than-life bronze tiger, mechanically enlarged to nearly three times the size of the original. The resulting large bronze sculpture was created as a memorial to Edgar Palmer, who passed away that same year. It was dedicated in 1944 with a plaque that reads: IN MEMORY OF EDGAR PALMER WHOSE VISION AND GENEROSITY PLANNED AND BUILT THIS SQUARE FOR PRINCETON WHICH HE SO LOVED. The statue remains the centerpiece of Palmer Square, where it has faithfully watched over the river of time for all Princetonians for more than 75 years.
We are extremely proud to be producing Charles R. Knight's most beloved sculpture at the actual size at which he created it. And, in using Knight's original cast, every fine detail will be faithfully reproduced at the highest quality possible, thereby honoring Charles Knight, Edgar Palmer, and all Princetonians, for generations to come.
This bronze will be produced in a strictly limited edition of 250 pieces. It is nearly three feet in length and will weigh approximately 100 pounds. (The exact weight will be updated here as soon as the first bronze statue is completed.) Proudly produced in association with the Charles R. Knight Estate.
Thank you kindly for your interest!
More news to come...
We will update this website with more information as the first completed statue is produced and available for individual ownership this fall.
If you would like to be added to our email list, reserve your bronze statue, or have other questions, please use the following form to contact us.