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Lehigh open house will showcase statues

June 10, 2012
By EMILIE NELSON, , Messenger News

LEHIGH - What Paulette and Darrell Curtis found in an antique shop several years ago has turned into a growing collection of mid- to late-1800s-era statues by sculptor John Rogers.

One statue caught Paulette Curtis' eye, and the couple brought it back to their Lehigh home not fully aware of what they had found.

"That was around 1995," said Paulette Curtis. "We found it at the old antique mall that was in Vincent."

Article Photos

-Submitted photo
‘The Wounded,’ a sculpture by John Rogers, is among those that will be displayed at an open house.

The Curtises did a little research on the piece they had found and discovered that Rogers was well-known for his sculptures depicting daily life and Civil War scenes from 1860 to 1894. From there they sought out more of Rogers' work.

"That was probably 25 statues ago," said Darrell Curtis. "They grow on you."

"'Neighboring Pews' was the first one we found," said Paulette Curtis. "We really liked it, and it tells a story just by looking at it. Every one of them tells a story. That's what John Rogers wanted."

The couple often spends time searching internet sites for Rogers' works they don't already have. A dealer in Pennsylvania also lets them know when he finds one available.

Many of the statues are original works more than 100 years old and require some refurbishing, Paulette Curtis said.

"He's become pretty good at repairing the damaged ones," Paulette Curtis said of her husband. "They're old and rare."

The Curtises enjoy sharing their collection and have displayed it at the Lehigh Historical Museum in past years.

"They drew a pretty good crowd at the museum," said Paulette Curtis.

On Saturday, in conjunction with the annual Lehigh River Days Celebration, they will be opening their home at 875 Larch St. in Lehigh for the public to view their collection from 2 to 5 p.m.

"We've started our own little museum," said Paulette Curtis. "We enjoy talking to people about them. We could go on all day."



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