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You are at stop #2 on the Women Artists tour

In 1989 Phyllis Hammond was chosen by the Connecticut Commission for the Arts to create a sculpture to be placed outside the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Offices in the old Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Building at 79 Elm Street, Hartford. The piece, collectively entitled Phoenix consists of two multi-figure groups which frame the steps leading to the building.

Hammond’s two sculptural groups are composed of a family rendered in classical forms that fade into abstraction at their waists. The faces are realistic but contained in a genderless space of layered bronze. Hammond used a blue green patina to compliment the tiles of the building and a polished gold to reference the colors of a mythical phoenix. The sculpture (as indicated by the title) is meant to represent rebirth and beginning of life, like a phoenix being born again from the ashes. The figures emerge from a large mass of bronze, just begging to take their shapes. According to Hammond’s project proposal to the Connecticut Office of the Arts, the work was inspired by ancient sculptures of the mythical Janus, a two-headed doorkeeper to heaven. Hammond used the lost-wax method of bronze casting to create Phoenix. She created the clay molds at her studio in Briarcliff, New York and had the bronze cast at Argos Inc. in Brewster, New York in 1991. The pieces are signed and have the inscription “Argos 1991” cast into the bronze.The figures were first developed in clay, then transferred to wax and finally cast in bronze. After casting, the piece was patinated by Andrew Baxter, and installed at 79 Elm street in 1993.

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  • Connecticut Commission on the Arts, Archive of the One-Percent for Art applications 1989 for the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Building, 79 Elm Street, Hartford. :