Click main image below to view enlargements and captions.

Portrait, James Fenimore Cooper, Last of the Mohicans, Raised Relief, Plaster, Bela Janowsky, c. 1939

Bela Janowsky (1900-95)
James Fenimore Cooper — The Last of the Mohicans
[Cooperstown, New York Post Office Plaque]
American: c. 1939
Plaster of Paris plaque with terra cotta slip finish
Approximately 4 x 5 feet (exact measurements to be supplied)
Provenance: Estate of the Artist, 1996

An impressive and imposing very large original artist’s plaster model by Bela Janowsky for the bronze tablet portrait medallion plaque James Fenimore Cooper — The Last of the Mohicans in the Cooperstown Post Office Building. The original bronze was originally installed on March 1, 1939. In recent years, the plaque had been in storage, but was reinstalled in 2007. It incorporates a portrait of James Fenimore Cooper in a central round medallion, above an image of a canoe flanked on either side by Native American characters from Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales (of which The Last of the Mohicans was the second and most popular novel). The plaque is in its original terra cotta finish, as created by the artist, and presumably served as model or additional casting before or shortly after the casting of the original bronze.

Product description continues below.


Also available is an archive of papers, and photographs of the artist relating to the Cooper plaque. The above illustrations show Janowsky working on the plaque and an original newspaper clipping announcing its installation in 1939.

Bela Janowsky (occasionally spelled Janowski) was an American sculptor who immigrated to North America from his native Hungary, eventually settling in New York City. He studied at the Ontario College of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (where he was later made a Fellow), the Cleveland School of Art, the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design in New York City, and with Charles Grafly and Alexander Blazys. He was an artist with the Works Progress Administration during the 1930s, and is best known for his public commissions, including bronze reliefs, plaques and memorials for the Cooperstown, New York, Post Office (as discussed above); the Brooklyn Navy Yard; the Lost Battalion Hall, Queens, New York; and the U.S. Department of Commerce Building in Washington, D.C. Other commissions included a bust for Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, and a gold medal for the Royal Society of Canada. He exhibited regularly throughout the 1930s and 1940s and at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. Janowsky was married to Clara Louise Bell (b. 1886), an accomplished painter.


Falk, Peter Hastings, ed. Who Was Who in American Art. Madison, Connecticut: Sound View Press, 1985. p. 312.

Gilbert, Dorothy B., ed. Who’s Who in American Art. New York: American Federation of Arts and R.R. Bowker, 1959. pp. 41, 280.

Additional information


20th Century