This statue of Earhart was given to the National Statuary Hall Collection by Kansas in 2022. Sculptors Mark and George Lundeen are brothers; they also sculpted the statue of John L. "Jack" Swigert.
The Lundeen brothers depict Amelia Earhart standing casually, her short hair and thick bangs tousled and her scarf blown partially aside by the wind. Her relaxed, confident posture, a graceful S-curve when viewed from the side, is reminiscent of her stance in numerous photographs taken of her with aircraft. Shortly after learning to fly in 1921, she set the woman's world altitude record, and she continued to set aviation records into the 1930s. On June 1, 1937, Earhart set off eastward from Miami, Florida, planning to become the first woman to fly around the world. She and navigator Fred Noonan covered more than 22,000 miles and were last seen on the morning of July 2 when they left Papua New Guinea for Howland Island. A weeks-long search began immediately but ended fruitlessly, and Earhart was declared legally dead on January 5, 1939.
Contrasting patinas set off Earhart's jacket and pants, adding a note of realism. With input from Earhart’s family, the sculptors selected attire to reflect her quintessential flying outfit. She preferred regular sturdy shoes and slacks to tall boots and jodhpurs, and she almost always wore a silk scarf. Her right hand is in the pocket of her favorite leather jacket. Her left hand rests beside her belt, holding a leather aviator's cap and a pair of goggles. The sculptors devised a belt buckle in the shape of Kansas. It is adorned with a sunflower in bloom, referencing Kansas's nickname, the "Sunflower State." Prominent creases in her slacks and the draping of her jacket and scarf animate the figure’s form.
Earhart is depicted at about 30 years old, when she had already written her first book and was moving into the peak of her flying career. She was about 33 when she was elected the first president of The Ninety-Nines, an organization of women pilots of which she was a founding member. She has a confident smile and an approachable demeanor. To make the figure more accessible to viewers, the Lundeens tilted her face slightly downward, so Earhart gazes just over the viewers' heads rather than to a distant horizon.
The pedestal of buff-colored limestone references one of several records Earhart set. It is inscribed:
First Woman to fly solo across the Atlantic
Together, the statue and pedestal are 10 feet tall. The bronze statue was cast using the lost-wax process.
Sculptors Mark and George Lundeen, natives of Holdrege, Nebraska, operate a studio in Loveland, Colorado. Mark Lundeen (1958– ) earned a business degree from the University of Nebraska in Kearney and then studied the work of the old masters in Europe. George Lundeen (1948– ) holds art degrees from Hastings College and the University of Illinois and was a Fulbright-Hayes Scholar at the Academia de Belle Arte in Florence, Italy. Individually and together, they have created works placed at over sixty locations around the country, including airports; sports stadia; organizational and corporate headquarters; and universities, colleges, and libraries. Mark Lundeen is a member of the Allied Artists of America and the National Sculpture Society, to which he was the youngest member ever selected. George Lundeen is a member of the National Academy of Design and the National Sculpture Society. The Lundeens have received awards from many organizations, including the Allied Artists of America, the National Academy of Design, the University of Nebraska, the Nebraska Legislature, and the National Sculpture Society.
The Lundeens work individually and collaboratively on sculptures, offering one another editing suggestions. At their studio and workshop, they complete each step of bronze fabrication except the actual lost-wax casting. Working with a team of assistants, they make the wax molds, fabricate the statue from the cast pieces, and finish the metalwork and patination. Two foundries, Art Castings of Colorado and Bronze Services of Loveland, cast this statue of Amelia Earhart and a second copy displayed at the Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum in Earhart’s birthplace—Atchison, Kansas. Each artist signed the statue of Earhart on the self-base. The Lundeens also sculpted the statue of astronaut John L. "Jack" Swigert given by the state of Colorado to the National Statuary Hall Collection in 1997.