Where did it come from? I wondered. Was it part of the Brutopian mind control plan of some post-Orwellian police state?
The back blurb listed the photographer, so I looked up his online portfolio, and found it:
It's the facade of Nebraska State Administration Building, previously Woodmen Accident and Life, across from the Capitol on K Street in Lincoln.
Well, that's pretty Brutopian.
I wanted to know about muscleman who posed as the "father," and also the little boy on the right. Did he spend his whole life walking past a naked image of himself at age 10?
According to the building's guide, the sculpture is "The Protecting Hand," by Lawrence Tenney Stevens, erected in 1954.
Lawrence Tenney Stevens (1896-1972) was one of the progenitors of the "Cowboy High Style" movement. He grew up in Massachusett, lived in Europe, and finally settled in Santa Barbara, California and Cody, Wyoming. He specialized in "big" sculptures, entrances to buildings and so on. Some naked women, but muscular men, too.
There's also a modern dance award in his name.
Now, who were the models for the Grabbing Hand sculpture?
A Smithsonian Catalog revealed more: The subjects were Doug Henson, Mrs. Stevens, and Sylvia, Sara, Marc, and Chad Stevens, his own wife and kids.
The boy, Marc Stevens, (b. 1949), now lives in Passaic, New Jersey.
The baby, Chad Stevens (b. 1954), now lives in Montrose, Colorado.
I couldn't find out much about them.
I checked the pro bodybuilder and pro wrestler databases. Nothing.
A check of the Lincoln obituaries revealed a Douglas Andrew Henson, born in 1924 and died on May 24, 2014. He was named "Mr. Oklahoma" in 1949, just before he joined the Tulsa Police Department.
However, I can find no more on the "Mr. Oklahoma" award. It may have been an amateur title, not based on an actual bodybuilding competition.
I guess there aren't any pics of Doug Henson in a posing strap lying around.