Born 1894, Secane, Pennsylvania
Died 1976, Marple-Newtown, Pennsylvania
At the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, J. Wallace Kelly studied sculpture under Charles Grafly. After WWI, Kelly resumed his studies at the Academy, receiving two Cresson Traveling Scholarships, the first in 1919, enabling him to study with sculptor Emile Antoine Bourdelle in Paris, where he also exhibited at the Salon Autumne in 1921. Kelly worked with fellow Academy student, Raphael Sabatini, and architect Ralph Bencker on the N.W. Ayer Building in Philadelphia. He created several sculptures for the Philadelphia Sesquicentennial Exposition in 1926 and five terra cotta reliefs for the United States Government's Central Heating Plant in Washington D.C. During the 1930s, like many artists, he joined the Works Progress Administration as the supervisor of sculpture projects for the state of Pennsylvania. The Fairmount Park Art Association awarded Kelly commissions to create outdoor sculptures along East River Drive in Fairmount Park and the west entrance to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Kelly also taught sculpture at Haverford Friends School, Haverford College, the Chester County Art Center, and the Main Line Center for the Arts.
Image: J. Wallace Kelly, Pennsylvania Traveler, February 1959, James A. Michener Art Museum archives