NaBloPoMo 23. The Original Kiss and Three Copies
Cee hosted this challenge on carvings and sculptures several weeks ago, but today I noted a news item that reminded me of two sculptures I have seen this year. One sculpture was on the east coast; the other was on the west coast.
Background. On August 14, 1945. LIFE Magazine photographer, Alfred Eisenstaedt, was in Times Square, New York City, taking pictures of the jubilant crowd celebrating the announcement of V-J Day (Victory over Japan). One of Eisenstaedt’s photos, a sailor kissing a nurse, became quite well-known. That photo can’t be shown here because it is copyrighted, however, you can view the photo on this slide show (the first photo): The 75 Best LIFE Photos. The photo is called “Unconditional Surrender” and alternately “The Kiss.”
Victor Jorgensen, a former Navy photo journalist who was standing just steps away from Eisenstaedt, took an almost identical photo. Because Jorgensen was a Navy journalist, the photo is government property and in the public domain, so it can be shown here. (Compare Eisenstaedt’s photo with the photo below.)
(The official V-J Day is September 2, 1945, commemorating the actual signing of the surrender agreement.)
Here’s a life-sized rendition of this photo found at the Seward Johnson Center for the Arts, Grounds for Sculpture, near Trenton, New Jersey.
You can read an article, “Unconditional Surrender, installed as part of Sculpture Along the Way,” on the Grounds for Sculpture blog. This sculpture, installed on April 26, 2010, is actually the third copy of this scene.
Seward Johnson’s original 25-foot-tall sculpture, “Unconditional Surrender,” was made out of Styrofoam and put on display in Sarasota, Florida in 2005. You can see a picture of the Sarasota Kiss here.
Another 25-foot-tall “Unconditional Surrender” (“The Kiss,”) by Seward Johnson can be found at the USS Midway Museum, along the harbor in San Diego, Ca. The most recent version, a bronze casting, replacing an earlier temporary version, was dedicated February 16, 2013.
By the way, if you would like your own copy of “Unconditional Surrender” (or “The Kiss”), I hear they are available for:
Styrofoam version $542,500
Aluminum version $980,000
Bronze version $1,140,000
Really now, that’s just small change. Why not just get the bronze version? Your neighbors will love it.