Art styles & sculpture at Lakewood
Lakewood Cemetery was founded in 1871 during the height of cemetery art in America. Over time, as monuments have been erected and preserved, the cemetery has become an outdoor museum filled with memorial art and symbolism.
Much of the memorial art found at Lakewood was popular during the Victorian era, but Lakewood is also home to non-Christian religious and cultural symbolism, representing the diversity of the Minneapolis community.
Between 1850 and 1930, many prominent architects and sculptors designed funeral monuments. Three styles were popular during the heyday of cemetery art: Classical Revival (a woman draped in flowing Grecian robes is typical) Egyptian Revival (the pyramid and obelisk) and Medieval Revival (hefty, round Romanesque lines or delicate detailed Gothic style).
Another popular motif featured “natural” images that copied the rugged look of rocks and trees. Monuments often imitated the look of a large, uncarved boulder to achieve this style.
Some cemetery sculptures portray the people whose graves they adorn, as exemplified by some sculptures of children found at Lakewood. Other sculptures were created to honor groups or cultures, such as a life-size bronze elk statue by E. L. Harvey, dedicated to the Brotherhood of Paternal Order of Elks and the pagoda-style Chinese Community Memorial. You’ll also find modern sculpture at Lakewood, including Gloria Tew's stainless steel monument erected in 1996 for Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich.