Period: American Regionalism
Dimensions: 41 x 33 x 15 in. (104.1 x 83.8 x 38.1 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of the Coppola family in memory of Joseph M. Coppola, Sr. In the Christian Petersen Art Collection, Christian Petersen Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University. Conservation funded by John and Doris Salsbury.
Commissioned along with "The Cornhusker" for the lobby of the Hotel Sheldon Munn in Ames, Iowa, "4-H Calf" is one of the most open forms that Christian Petersen ever produced. Its broad triangular shape and expressive physical characteristics give the work a liberated anecdotal quality. The sculpture most likely was inspired by scenes at the Iowa State Fair, where Petersen occasionally presented sculpting demonstration. Obviously regional in subject, "4-H Calf” is one of the most compelling indicators that Petersen was one of a few three-dimensional artists who embraced the regionalist movement.
Just as Petersen may have been one of the earliest artists to embrace the regionalist philosophy, he may also have been virtually alone in applying a long-term, consistent effort to apply the theory to sculpture. However, it is known that the sculpture was being produced in Iowa at this time. A photograph of the Iowa City Public Works of Art Program shows two men who appear to be working on sculpture, although they have not been identified.