David von Schlegell (1920 - 1992)
The stainless steel sculpture functions as a metaphor, tying the horizontal lines of the land and Lake Superior, which are both very visible from this location, together at the point of intersection with the City of Duluth. The Gate serves to recognize the importance of Duluth, as not only a gateway to Minnesota's north shore, but also to the world through the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway that extends 3700 kilometers (2,300 miles) east to the Atlantic Ocean.
David von Schlegell was born in St. Louis, Missouri. His father was William von Schlegell, an American Impressionist painter. David von Schlegell also began his career as a painter, but turned to sculpture in the early 1960's. Throughout his career, Mr. von Schlegell received many public commissions and several grants and awards, including the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture in 1978. He evolved a vocabulary of streamlined abstract forms and planes that reflected his knowledge of Constructivism, as well as his lifelong interest in yacht and airplane design. He served as director of graduate studies in sculpture at Yale University between 1971 and 1990, during which time this sculpture was created.
Fabricated by Lippincott Inc. of North Haven, Connecticut, the metal sculpture measures 12.2 meters long (40 feet) and rises 10.6 meters (34 feet, 9 inches) above the ground. It has an estimated mass 4500 kilograms (10,000 pounds). It was commissioned in 1969 by a Federal and State artist selections panel and funded as a partnership project between the National Endowment for the Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Minnesota State Highway Department, the Duluth Bicentennial Commission and Mrs. Eva Glimcher, a local private donor.
(caption below photo)
Sculptor David von Schlegell was inspired by Duluth's position as a gateway to the world, as well as, the location of this site within the community when he designed this sculpture for Thompson Hill Rest Area.