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Robert Treat Paine

Robert Treat Paine, Architect [1869-1946]

Robert Treat Paine was born in Indiana in 1870. A sculptor and technical innovator, he studied at the Chicago School of Art and also under Augustus Saint-Gaudens at the Art Students League in New York. While in New York, Paine invented a "pointing-up" device for mechanically tracing the outlines of a sculpture and reproducing them on a magnified scale, a process which had previously been done by hand. The first piece thus enlarged was the 1896 model for Saint-Gaudens' William Tecumseh Sherman Monument, a heroic-size bronze group standing at the 59th Street entrance of Central Park in New York City. After working in Italy, Paine moved to Berkeley in 1913 and in 1915 was commissioned to work on the upcoming 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. In this capacity he supervised the installation of sculptural embellishments to the Palace of Fine Arts and also created The Illustrious Obscure, a fountain on an island at the north end of the Palace of Fine Arts lagoon. Over three decades, Paine was commissioned to do numerous sculptures and sculptural embellishments by both private individuals and public institutions. His wife Mary Trueblood Paine taught mathematics at the Extension Division of the University of California. One of their two daughters, Evelyn Paine, married architect Robert Ratcliff and lived much of her childhood and all of her adult life in the Panoramic Hill neighborhood.

† Janice Thomas and Fredrica Drotos, Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, Panoramic Hill, Alameda California, nomination document, 2004, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.