More Works of York Native Sculptor Charles Rudy
Charles Rudy’s Noah on Bronx Post Office
Yesterday I asked an artist friend if he remembered York born and raised sculptor Charles Rudy. He not only remembered him, but he had taken a sculpture class that Rudy taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He confirmed the impression that I had after seeing some of Rudy’s correspondence and reading articles about him and his work–that, besides being very talented, he was a really nice person.
As I mentioned in previous posts on Rudy, he sculpted a variety of materials and produced works in a wide range of sizes. The accompanying photos show two public works featuring notable figures–Noah and Benjamin Franklin.
Bronx Post Office ca. 1950
Rudy won a competition in 1938 that resulted in the 14 foot high limestone Noah sculpture on the front of the main Bronx, New York post office. The commission was funded by the Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture. (Later known as the Section of Fine Arts, this was the same New Deal program that funded the two wood sculptures in the downtown York post office.) With the $7,500 he was paid for Noah, his first large commission, Rudy and his wife were able to buy the 200 year old house and barn/studio in Ottsville, Bucks County, where they spent the rest of their lives.
Noah is still on the front of the Bronx post office, as is a companion sculpture The Letter by Henry Kreis. You can see the facade of the post office by searching Google Maps for Bronx Post Office, 558 Grand Concourse, New York. Then click on satellite view and drag the little man over to street view. You can move the street view around until you see Noah. The Google photo was taken when there was a scaffolding and awning in place, which somewhat blocks the sculptures, but I assume that was temporarily there because of some work being done on the building.
Two bronze bas reliefs of Benjamin Franklin were cast, one for each of the plaques at either end of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, which carries Route 30 and I-676 across the Delaware River between Camden, New Jersey and Philadelphia. The bridge was built in 1926, but it was dedicated to Benjamin Franklin in 1956. That’s when the Delaware River Port Authority commissioned the plaques with the Rudy images of Franklin. The plaster model shown below was made in the process of creating the plaques. It is now in the museum collection of York County Heritage Trust.