Before 1941, the fountain in front of Memorial Union looked like this:
But 1941 saw the unveiling of sculptor Christian Petersen‘s Fountain of the Four Seasons, based on the Osage song collected by ISU Agronomist J. C. Cunningham: “Lo, I come to the tender planting. Lo, a tender shoot breaks forth. Lo, I collect the golden harvest. Lo, there is joy in my house.”
The sculpture includes four Native American women facing in each of the four cardinal directions. One is planting seeds, another is nurturing a corn plant, a third harvests corn, and the fourth nurses a child.
Christian Petersen served as Artist-in-Residence from 1935-1961. He completed 11 major sculptures, several of which can be seen on campus, as well as numerous busts, reliefs, portraits, and small sculptures.
To find out more, check out the Christian Petersen Papers, RS 26/2/52 in Special Collections.