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Significance of the "Fountain of the Four Seasons"

The central fountainhead was completed by Christian Petersen in 1941. Christian Petersen was the artist-in-residence at Iowa State University at the time as well as teaching sculpture to Iowa State students. In 1940, Petersen was commissioned by then President Friley to create a work of art to place in the already existing pool structure.

The significance of this work of art is incalculable as it contributes to Iowa State University’s public identity. Like the architecturally iconic Campanile, no other public sculpture better visually defines the aesthetics of the University.

Christian Petersen is an important artist in Iowa State’s public art legacy, creating numerous public works of art such as the Fountain of the Four Seasons, Library Boy and Girl, Three Athletes, Conversations, History of Dairying, George Washington Carver, and many more. Christian Petersen’s artistic style is considered Regionalism, mostly expressed during the 1930s and 1940s, and his iconic sculptures have come to add placemaking identity across the Iowa State University campus.


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