Angel Frieze Returns to Davenport Museum

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DAVENPORT, IOWA.- Davenport’s old Carnegie library fell to the wrecking ball long ago, but a cherished piece of that building has returned home. A 105-year-old frieze, cast from an original sculpture of cherubs by the Italian artist Donatello, has been cleaned up and reinstalled at the downtown Davenport Public Library’s special collections area. The reproduction of Donatello’s “singing angels” was presented to the old library in 1905 by W.C. Putnam, a wealthy entrepreneur who was the godfather of the Putnam Museum. It was an expensive, imported piece for a wall of the childrens department in the library. But when the museum was razed in 1966, the plaster reproduction found a new home at the Blackhawk Hotel in downtown Davenport. As restoration work began on the hotel this fall, developers Restoration St. Louis decided to donate the valuable piece of art back to the library. “It takes us back to our roots as a Carnegie library,” said a grateful Amy Groskopf, the chief archivist