“Cogito ergo sum”

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CARL A. NORGREN

1890 – 1968

JULIET E. NORGREN

1896 – 1987

On a bronze plaque on the side of the marker:

“I CANNOT HELP BUT WONDER

HOW I CAN CARELESS BE

OF THE SWIFTLY PASSING MOMENTS

THAT SEEK OBLIVION’S SEA;

METHINK THEN – HOW MUCH BETTER

TO IMPROVE THEM AS THEY FLEE.

THOUGH I LIVE BUT A MOMENT,

MY DEEDS – ETERNITY…”

C. A. N.

The two gravestones in today’s blogpost are topped with sculptures with the same theme—thinking.

The first gravestone from the Fairmont Cemetery at Denver, Colorado marks the grave of Carl and Juliet Norgren. Carl Norgren was a mechanical engineer who founded a successful manufacturing company, still in existence today.

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The bronze statue on top of the Norgren’s marker is a replica of the great Rodin statue of the “Thinker”, originally called “Le Pensuer”, in Rodin’s native French. The “Thinker” is most likely one of the most well known and most parodied statues ever created.

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The second monument in the Lakeview Cemetery at Seattle, Washington, for Everett George DuPen and his wife of 65 years, Charlotte Nicks, is a shaft of black polished granite with a bronze of a statue he sculpted himself, titled, “Pensive.” DuPen was a famed artist and acclaimed teacher of sculpture with a long and distinguished career that spanned eight decades.

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What is not clear from either monument is the meaning of the sculptures chosen for their markers. It could be that the Norgren family chose the “Thinker” because it was their favorite sculpture. It could also be that “Pensive” was chosen because it was of Everett DuPen’s favorites. Or it they could both be a call to action—to think about death or maybe more importantly—life.

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Both statues could both be an ode to René Descartes’ statement, “Cogito ergo sum“, Latin translated in his native French as, “Je pense, donc je suis” (1637). The statement, in English, means, “I think, therefore I am”.

DuPen

Everett George

1912 – 2005

Father

Sculptor

Professor of Art

 

Charlotte Nicks

1914 – 2012

Mother

Muse

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