Thorfinn Karlsefni (sculpture)

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Thorfinn Karlsefni
Thorfinn Karlsefni 1918.jpg
Artist Einar Jónsson
Dimensions210 cm× 140 cm× 120 cm(84 in× 54 in× 48 in)
Coordinates 39°58′13″N75°11′24″W / 39.9702°N 75.19005°W / 39.9702; -75.19005
OwnerCity of Philadelphia
Fairmount Park Commission

Thorfinn Karlsefni is a bronze statue by Icelandic sculptor Einar Jónsson. The first casting of it is located in Fairmount Park on Kelly Drive, at the North end of Boathouse Row, Philadelphia. The sculpture was commissioned by Joseph Bunford Samuel through a bequest that his wife, Ellen Phillips Samuel, made to the Association for Public Art (formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association), [1] specifying that the funds were to be used to create a series of sculptures "emblematic of the history of America." [2] Thorfinn Karlsefni (1915–1918) was installed along Philadelphia's Kelly Drive near the Samuel Memorial and unveiled on November 20, 1920. [3] The artwork is one of 51 sculptures included in the Association for Public Art's Museum Without Walls: AUDIO™ interpretive audio program for Philadelphia's outdoor sculpture. [4] There is another casting of the statue in Reykjavík, Iceland.


External media
Nuvola apps arts.svg Thorfinn Karlsefni (1915–1918), Association for Public Art, Audio only
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Thorfinn Karlsefni (1915–1918), Association for Public Art [5]

The inscription reads: (Sculpture, lower proper left:)
Einar Jonsson
(On back of Karlsefni's shield: Icelandic verse)
From the island of the North, of ice and snow,
Of blossoming valleys and blue mountains,
Of the midnight sun and the dreamy mists,
The home of the goddess of northern lights.
(Base, front:)
Thorfinn Karlsefni
(Base, front plaque:)
Following Leif Ericson's Discovery of
North America in 1003, Thorfinn Karlsefni
with 165 men and 35 women established a
settlement which lasted for 3 years and
his son Snorri was born in North America
Leif Ericson Society of Pennsylvania
Scandinavian Craft Club of Philadelphia
October 9, 1974 [6]

Reykjavik version of the statue Statue by Einar Jonsson created 1915-1918 of Thorfinn Karlsefni.jpg
Reykjavík version of the statue


White supremacists held events at the Philadelphia statue in 2008 and 2013. [7] The statue was spray painted with anarchist and antifascist symbols in 2017, and then was toppled from its base and dragged into the Schuylkill River in the overnight hours between October 1 and 2, 2018. [8] As of July 2020 the statue had still not been returned to display, although it had been recovered from the river and was awaiting restoration. [9]

See also

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  1. "Full text of "The Icelander Thorfinn Karlsefni who Visited the Western Hemisphere in 1007"" . Retrieved 2015-03-03.
  2. "Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial Sculpture Garden | Association for Public Art". 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2015-03-03.
  3. "Interactive Art Map | Thorfinn Karlsefni | Association for Public Art". 1920-11-20. Retrieved 2015-03-03.
  4. "Museum Without Walls". Retrieved 2015-03-03.
  5. "Thorfinn Karlsefni (1915–1918)". Museum Without Walls™. Association for Public Art . Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  6. "Thorfinn Karlsefni, (sculpture)". 1974-10-09. Retrieved 2015-03-03.
  7. "Where is Philly's viking statue that got thrown into the river?".
  8. "Philly's Thorfinn Karlsefni Statue Toppled into Schuylkill River". NBC10 Philadelphia. 2018-10-02. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  9. "Where is Philly's viking statue that got thrown into the river?".