- Janet A. Headley
(b Rahway, NJ, July 18, 1790; d Compton Mills, RI, Feb 24, 1852).
American sculptor. The youngest of ten, Frazee worked as a farmhand, and was then apprenticed to a local builder. He launched his career by carving architectural ornament and gravemarkers; by 1818, local success encouraged him to establish a monument-making company with his brother William in New York. His visual repertory and his clientele expanded: a cenotaph to Sarah Haynes (c. 1821; New York, Trinity Church) fuses Ionic pilasters, an illusionistic swag of drapery, and clusters of oak leaves; his monument to patriot Elbridge Gerry (1823; Washington, DC, Congressional Cemetery) unites a truncated obelisk with a flaming urn. Such ambitious combinations of decorative elements probably derive from pattern books.
His business gained him some financial success, but Frazee aspired to the status of artist. The Marquis de Lafayette agreed to a sitting (1824, plaster, lost), and New York patroon Giulian Verplanck lobbied for a posthumous portrait of Chief Justice John Jay (...