Bust of Sir William Osler
Donor: Emil Seletz
The following is from the book Emil Seletz, Sculptor.
All through my medical training I have always been inspired by "the great physician".
The father of the first truly great volume on medicine is by Sir William Osler.
While in Baltimore in 1937, I visited with sculptor Hans Schuller, and he related to me his making of a portrait bust of Sir William Osler. This was sometime in early 1905. It was his custom in modeling a portrait bust of a male subject to use the Greek style of finishing with the naked unclothed chest. Mrs. Osler wanted Osler's accustomed wing collar and elegant dress, but Hans Schuller would not agree to her request. Dr. Osler looked quite young at that time.
Mrs. Osler refused to accept the bust (eventually acquired by Johns Hopkins).
When beginning the portrait bust of Dr. Osler, my good friend Dr. Elmer Belt, the urologist and universally famous for his Leonardo DaVinci collection, procured for me some 30 or more photographs of Sir William Osler as well as copies of drawings and paintings made of him from life, including the famous painting "The Four Doctors at Johns Hopkins" by John Singer Sargent, and of course, the family painting from life by Seymour Thomas.
The tribute written to Sir William Osler by my sister Jeanette, especially stimulated me to begin work on this great man.
As I related to Dr. Earl Nation - eminent member of the Osler Society, I had the remarkably good fortune of meeting and getting to know Seymour Thomas who had painted the famous portrait of Osler from life sometime in 1905 or 1906. Seymour Thomas had moved to the Los Angeles area sometime before 1960. He was kind enough to study and criticize my Osler in the clay before it was cast in bronze.
I am also including here a copy of a letter from Dr. Hugh Garroll (sic) about sculptures of Osler as written to him by W. W. Francis, MD, the librarian of the Osler Library. I pray that my Osler does not resemble Bismark as described by Dr. Francis.
Abstracted 3 Dec., 1957 letter from W. W. Francis, MD to Dr. Hugh W. Garol -
It is good to hear from past Osler Society boys, and I was waiting for a line from Dr. Seletz, but he hasn't written yet.
I've seen three or four busts of Osler, all of the FOUL, even those made from life. One done from photos was a good likeness of Bismark!! So you can see I'm old-fashioned and not inclined to encourage modern sculptors. But perhaps a good neurosurgeon can be relied on to have some respect for anatomy and physiognomy, and not to "abstract" a horror from his "Freud and Junk subconscious"!