Robert Tait McKenzie (Canadian, 1867–1938)

McKenzie was a physician, educator, sculptor, athlete, and soldier. He first attended McGill University in Montreal where he participated in many sports activities. He then became the family physician of the Governor General of Canada, the Marquis of Aberdeen where he met important political figures, and then was appointed the first Medical Director of Physical Training at McGill University. Later, McKenzie moved to the US to teach at the University of Pennsylvania as Director of the Physical Education Department, which provided him with the opportunity to develop, test, and implement his theories on health and athletics. When WWI broke out, he was assigned to the physical training program for new soldiers and inspected the condition of the training camps. His pioneering rehabilitation techniques for soldiers became the foundation for modern physiotherapy.

McKenzie’s interest in sculpting came from his extensive knowledge and deep interest in human anatomy, health, and athletics. His first sculptural piece in the round was The Sprinter, which involved measurements of limbs and torsos of athletes and students. He would create around 200 sculptural works of athletes, soldiers, busts, masks, friezes and medallions.