- Pamela H. Simpson
(b Philadelphia, PA, March 28, 1877; d Miami, FL, Sept 4, 1954).
American sculptor and educator. A specialist in animal sculpture, Albert Laessle spent most of his life and career in Philadelphia. In 1894, he began attending classes at the Spring Garden Institute and the Drexel Institute before entering the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1900, where he studied with Charles Grafly and Thomas Anschutz. In 1904, with the aid of a traveling scholarship, Laessle went to Paris where he studied under Michel Beguine (1855–1929). Returning to Philadelphia in 1907, he became Grafly’s studio assistant. The two formed a life-long friendship. Laessle provided the animals for several of Grafly’s major public works. Laessle later bought a farm on the outskirts of the city so he could have his own animals to study, and he kept modeling equipment at the Philadelphia Zoo. The recipient of many honors, Laessle’s early style was in the Beaux-Arts tradition, but after 1908 he began experimenting with an expressive, less finished form. He taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for 20 years (...