Food For Your Soul
Clement John Barnhorn
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1857, Clement John Barnhorn was a well-known and celebrated carver and sculptor. Materials such as stone, wood and terracotta were tools in the creation of his wonderful pieces such as the Fountain of the Water Nymph at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Spending the majority of his career here in Cincinnati, his sculptures in the Motherhouse chapel are beautifully placed on the side altars. They are titled St. Joseph and Child and Madonna of the Lilies.
Barnhorn was the son of a tavern-keeper by the name of Clemens Barnhorn, who was from Oldenburg, Germany. After attending Saint Xavier College, Barnhorn went to work in the wood carving shop of Henry L. and William H. Fry. He started there in about 1875 and was employed for nearly a dozen years. During this time he received training in sculpture from Louis T. Rebisso. He would have classes in the evenings at the Cincinnati University School of Design and later as Rebisso’s studio assistant.
In 1888, Barnhorn opened a studio in the Pike Building and in 1890 shared this studio with Frank Duveneck. During the years of 1890 and 1891, they modeled the famous Funeral Effigy of Elizabeth Boott Duveneck, in memory of Duveneck’s wife. After much emotional heartache from Duveneck and technical difficulties, the piece was finished.
After this, Barnhorn spent six months in Italy, and then went to Paris to study under Denys Puech, Antonin Merciè, Emmanuel Frèmiet and William Bouguereau at the Julian Academy. In 1894 he received an honorable mention for his Magdalen and shared another with Duveneck for the Funeral Effigy. He was back in Cincinnati by 1896 and held positions as president of the Cincinnati Art Club and a membership in the National Sculpture Society. During this time he was working in Rebisso’s studio at the Cincinnati Art Academy. In 1899, while he was back in Paris with Puech, Rebisso died and Barnhorn filled his position as head of the Cincinnati Art Academy’s Department of Sculpture. He would hold this position until his death.In the following years, Barnhorn would receive countless awards and numerous commissions for church and cathedral work. He was chosen to sculpt a granite monument for Duveneck, after his death, for his grave in Covington, Ky. Barnhorn also sculpted a piece for his own grave at St. John Cemetery in Cincinnati. He died on Aug. 2, 1935.