Skip navigation
Oklahoma Arts CouncilOklahoma Arts Council

Governor Dewey Follett Bartlett

by Leonard D. McMurry

Bronze
Dimensions:
Commissioned by the Oklahoma State Legislature
Dedicated 1982
Second Floor: Hall of Governors

Governor Henry Louis Bellmon by Leonard D. McMurry

The Artwork

Dewey Follett Bartlett was born in Marietta, Ohio, March 28, 1919 and was the son of David A. and Jessie Follett Bartlett.The second Republican Governor of the State of Oklahoma, Bartlett attended Princeton University. He served in the Marine Corps during World War II as a combat dive bomber pilot and received the Air Medal. He was a partner in Keener Oil Company, one of Oklahoma's oldest, small independent oil companies. Bartlett was first elected to the State Senate in 1962 and was re-elected in 1964. He served as Governor from January 9, 1967, to January 11, 1971, and was elected to the U.S. Senate November 7, 1972. He died March 1, 1979.

The Artist

Known as Oklahoma's own "Michelangelo," Leonard McMurry was born to a family of prominent cotton farmers in the Texas panhandle. McMurry moved to Oklahoma in 1955 and then lived in Stilwell and Oklahoma City. Under the teachings of sculptors Carl Mose and Ivan Mestrovic, McMurry perfected his craft. His magnificent sculptures of Oklahoma icons can be seen across the state including the '89er statue on Couch Drive in Oklahoma City and the Praying Hands that grace the lawns of Oral Roberts University.

In accordance with Oklahoma's Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1982, McMurry was commissioned to sculpt busts of 21 past Oklahoma Governors. The Hall of Governors exudes Oklahoman's pride in her past legislative guardians. Regarding his works, McMurry states, "Each piece must have a soul, a living quality that's far more important than just physical representation. A piece has to have guts: the strength, power, and dignity, that makes it a monument." McMurry has accomplished that very feat within the grandiose Hall of Governors in which visitors may come face to face with naturalistic representation of Oklahoma leaders.