In this relief, Thomas Jefferson leans on a desk with documents. His hand is outstretched, receiving a quill pen from a seated Napoleon. Behind them, a map shows a map with the Louisiana Territory, which was acquired for four cents per acre. The Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the US and included what would eventually become Nebraska.
The exterior reliefs of the Capitol depict the history of western civilization. The Nebraska State Capitol is clad in Indiana Limestone.
About Lee Lawrie
Lee Lawrie was born in Germany in 1877 and came to America with his family four years later. As a young boy, he sketched the world around him and it became apparent he had great artistic talent. His first formal job as an artist came at 14 when he was hired in a sculptor’s studio to do odd jobs. It was at this job he taught himself how to model clay in the evenings. He would eventually attend Yale where he earned a bachelor’s of fine arts. He stayed at Yale where he taught until 1919.
Lawrie and Bertram Goodhue met in the late 1800s when the two began collaborating on various projects. Lawrie specialized in architectural sculpture, which was a direct compliment to Goodhue’s appreciation of early Gothic revival designs. The two would achieve a breakthrough in their approach during the construction of the Nebraska State Capitol. They created an approach that fused architecture and sculpture into an integrated and simple design.