George Grey Barnard (American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York)
47 3/4 x 9 3/4 x 20 1/2 in. (121.3 x 24.8 x 52.1 cm)
Bequest of Susan Vanderpoel Clark, 1967
Not on view
Only completed in plaster, “The Rainbow Arch" was part of a grand scheme for a peace memorial that Barnard hoped to install on an "art acropolis" at the northern tip of Manhattan. The plan was abandoned in 1924 due to lack of funding, but Barnard continued to work on the arch which consisted of more than fifty heroic figures, each approximately nine feet high. The Metropolitan Museum’s “Refugee” is a reduction of a figure from the right side of the arch. Barnard saw the work as "one of fifteen statues of refugees making their way up a mountain to the foot of the rainbow" from the arch. He intended to place the figure "walking into a wall of marble;" therefore, only her back would have been visible to viewers. However, this marble image, the only one that Barnard completed from this project, is fully finished in the round, the striking form of the distraught woman boldly emphasized by the clinging drapery.