In 1869 he had saved up enough money to move to Paris, where he studied sculpture at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts under François Jouffroy, and worked as an assistant to Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.
Warner"s great-great-uncle was the Revolutionary leader Seth Warner. As a young man he worked as an artisan and a telegraph operator. When the French Third Republic was proclaimed in 1870, he enlisted in the Foreign Legion, resuming his studies when the siege was over (May 1871).
In 1872, he removed to New York and established a studio.
A trip through the Northwest Territory led to a series of Indian-themed portrait medallions. He designed the souvenir half dollar for the Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893.
After meeting with little commercial success, however, he returned to live at his father"s farm in Vermont, where he also did work for manufacturers of silver and plated ware. Towards the end of his life his sculptures became known to a wider audience.
He died in 1896, after a cycling accident in New York"s Central Park.
In the 1970s Warner"s heirs donated his collection of personal papers to the Smithsonian Archives of American Artist Warner is credited with popularizing the bas relief, through numerous portraits in this style. Among his best known works are:
"Edwin Forrest" (medallion, 1876)
"Rutherford B. Hayes" (bust, 1876)
"Dancing Nymph" (1879)
Eight portrait busts on the facade of the Brooklyn Historical Society including Michelangelo, Beethoven, Columbus, Franklin, Gutenberg, Shakespeare, a Norseman, and a Native American.
William A. Buckingham" (statue, 1883)
"William Lloyd Garrison" (statue, 1885)
"The Reverend William F. Morgan, Doctorate. Doctorate." (bust, 1887)
Skidmore Fountain for Portland, Oregon (1888)
Major General Charles Devens (statue, 1892-1896).
He was one of the founders and a member of the Society of American Artists in 1877, and an associate of the National Academy of Design in 1888.
Married Sylvia Martinach, 1886, at least 2 children.