University Museums

Title: Old Women in Prayer (The Refugee)
Name: Sculpture
Date: 1940
Medium: Bedford limestone
Dimensions: 28 x 17 x 18 in. (71.1 x 43.2 x 45.7 cm)
Classification: Sculpture
Credit Line: Purchased with funds provided by the Iowa State Library. In the Christian Petersen Art Collection, Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Location: Iowa State University, Parks Library
Object Number: U86.521
More Information
Old Woman in Prayer/The Refugee, by Christian Petersen, was sculpted from bedford stone. This sculpture is the artist's memorial to civilian refugees and concentration camp victims during the global second World War-and in all wars in the history of man's inhumanity to man. According to interviews conducted by his first biographer with Petersen’s wife, Charlotte, this sculpture expresses the terror of ordinary -- and defenseless -- people who find themselves in the midst of conflict. She recalled, “Christian was deeply moved by the barbarism of the pogroms and the bombings. We were stunned by the tragic suffering of innocent civilians during World War II -- he brooded about it.”
The woman's hands are placed together is prayer while she looks toward the heavens for an answer.