Arts in Transit
Chesterfield Arts
St. Louis
Grand Center
U. City

Meeting of the Waters

Meeting of the Waters

Artist: Carl Milles, Swedish, b. 1985, d. 1955
Title: Meeting of the Waters, 1931-1939
Media: bronze and granite

15' h., 280' w., 75' d.

Owner: City of St. Louis

About the Work
On a sunny day a rainbow may be viewed arching through the many jets and sprays that animate the full basin of figures that comprise Carl Milles’ Meeting of the
. The joyous sounds of splashing water rushing over the frolicking figures create a spirit of the dance, a presence that is as enlivening today as it was upon its installation 64 years ago. Exuberant, Meeting of the Waters is a figurative allegorical depiction of the Mississippi (male figure) and Missouri (female figure) Rivers and the 17 main tributaries (water sprites, mermaids, and fish) that enter into it.

In this sculpture the artist used bronze and water as the primary sculptural elements. At the same time, he allowed for the presence and interaction of air currents and sunlight to play upon the water and figures as a way of maintaining spontaneity. His fountain design included layouts for the systems of jets, to details of piping dimensions as controls of water velocity and patterns.

Milles was born in Sweden and studied sculpture at the Technical School in Stockholm. In 1929, after receiving acclaim in Sweden and having an exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London, he accepted a commission in Chicago that brought about his first visit to the USA. In 1931 he became Professor of Sculpture at Cranbrook Academy in Detroit, Michigan where he remained for many years. Over his long and productive career, Milles received numerous commissions and exhibited extensively both in the US and abroad. In 1945 he became a US citizen and in 1947 was elected a lifetime member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1951 Milles returned to Sweden where he died in 1955.