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American Sculptor of the Gilded Age
April 17, 2005 - June 12, 2005
(above: Portrait of Augustus Saint-Gaudens,
ca. 1890s. Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, NH)
The first United
States tour of sculpture by the American Renaissance sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens
will be on view at the Wichita Art Museum April 17, 2005 - June 12, 2005.
Organized by the Trust for Museum Exhibitions (TME), Augustus Saint-Gaudens:
American Sculptor of the Gilded Age will feature seventy-five of the
sculptor's most famous works -- including reductions of major outdoor commissions,
full-sized works cast in bronze, marble and plaster, portrait reliefs, decorative
objects and coins -- an outstanding retrospective of the master's work.
The exhibition's Wichita venue is made possible, in part, by the Friends
of the Wichita Art Museum, Inc.
"Saint-Gaudens is one of those sculptors whose works
of art are more famous than his name. For example, the artist's portraits
of Diana or Abraham Lincoln are icons of American sculpture that we have
seen so frequently that we don't stop to think enough about them,"
explains Charles K. Steiner, Museum director. "This magnificent exhibition
is a wonderful opportunity to become reacquainted with the artist and his
contribution to the development of realism in 19th-century American sculpture."
Saint-Gaudens has been described as the "American
Michelangelo." He was a superb craftsman who became a brilliant player
in the history of America's Gilded Age. Brought to the United States as
an infant, he was educated in the U.S. and abroad, but it was his training
in Paris that clarified his conception of ideal beauty, which relied heavily
upon French and Italian Renaissance models. (right: Augustus Saint-Gaudens
(1848-1907), Sherman Monument, Victory, 1897-1902, bronze reduction,
Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, NH.)
In Paris Saint-Gaudens became acquainted with many other
artists, among them the architect Stanford White. It was a friendship and
collaboration that bore fruit in more than twenty cooperative projects,
and brought about a significant change in American monumental sculpture.
Their careful joint attention to site, landscape and a monument's architectural
features, such as benches, pedestals and inscriptions, produced a majestic
and integrated whole.
Versions of all of Saint-Gaudens's major projects are represented
in this exhibition, including perhaps the most famous collaboration with
White, the haunting Adams Memorial, installed in 1892 in Rock Creek
Cemetery in Washington, D.C. But it was through his monuments dedicated
to the Civil War and its heroes that Saint-Gaudens acquired a national reputation.
His memorial to Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth
Regiment, situated in Boston Common, is considered one of his finest achievements.
This exhibition will feature parts of seven other major projects, including
the Sherman Monument, The Puritan, and Diana for the
weathervane of Stanford White's Madison Square Garden.
The exhibition opened February 23, 2003 at the North Carolina
Museum of Art in Raleigh and ran through May 11. Subsequent venues in 2003
included Parrish Art Museum (Southampton, New York), June 5 - August 3;
Museum of the American Numismatic Association and Colorado Springs Fine
Arts Center (Colorado), August 28 - October 26; Allentown Art Museum (Pennsylvania),
November 20 - January 18, 2004.
In 2004 the exhibition appeared at Memorial Art Gallery,
University of Rochester (New York), February 12 - April 11; Frick Art and
Historical Center, (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), May 6 - July 4; Georgia Museum
of Art, University of Georgia (Athens), July 29 - September 26; Montgomery
Museum of Fine Arts (Alabama), October 21- January 2, 2005.
This year, the exhibition is being hosted by the Smith
College Museum of Art (Northampton, Massachusetts); January 26 - March 20;
Wichita Art Museum (Kansas), April 15 - June 12; Center for the Arts (Vero
Beach, Florida), July 7 - September 5; and Munson-Williams Proctor Museum
of Art (Utica, New York), September 29 - November 27.
TME in association with Archetype Press published a 128-page
catalogue to accompany the exhibition. The principal authors are Henry J.
Duffy, curator, and John H. Dryfhout, superintendent of the Saint-Gaudens
National Historic Site along with experts in the work of Saint-Gaudens and
the culture of the Gilded Age. Most of the works in the exhibition are on
loan from the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire,
which is the first National Historic Site dedicated to the work of an American
artist and part of the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
The Trust for Museum Exhibitions (TME) is a Washington,
D.C.-based non-profit service organization committed to providing the finest
in exhibition and technical support to museums and cultural centers throughout
the U.S. and abroad.
Augustus Saint-Gaudens: American Sculptor of the Gilded
Age is being presented at the Wichita Art Museum
in conjunction with a larger collaboration -- The Gilded Age and American
Public Sculpture. Botanica, The Wichita Gardens, the Edwin A. Ulrich
Museum of Art, Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, Wichita Center
for the Arts, along with the Wichita Art Museum, will each present programming
relating to public sculpture during the months of April, May and June to
broaden understanding of this important period in American art history.
Fore more information on the collaborative effort please call 316-268-4985.
(right: Young Girl and Fawn, Created in 1948 by sculptor Bruce
Moore. Collection of the Wichita Center for the Arts.)
Themes of the exhibition:
- THE GILDED AGE
- The Gilded Age in America (1865-1914) commonly refers
to the period between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of World
War I. It is most associated with growth of industry and a wave of immigration.
The need for more efficient transportation (the railroad) grew as quickly
as the demand for products like steel, iron, lumber, gold, and oil. The
high interest in these industries proved profitable for many businessmen
like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. In the visual arts, the Gilded
Age is characterized by the widespread emulation of the historical styles
and by major public sculptural commissions, many of which themselves were
given historicized form for their modern subject matter.
- EXHIBITION INTRODUCTION
- The American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907)
created a great variety of works beginning in his early years with cameos,
mural paintings, stained glass, and mixed media decorative panels found
in some of the most magnificent Gilded Age mansions of his day. In his
maturity Saint-Gaudens was a great portrait artist, creating more than
one hundred sculptural portraits. He also accepted more than twenty public
commissions for major monuments and he created medals and coins - the most
renowned of which is the U.S. 1907 gold coinage created for the nation.
He introduced affordable and accessible sculpture for a wider audience,
with reductions of some of his most popular statues and portrait reliefs.
This made it possible for museums and individuals alike to include his
work in their collections. Saint-Gaudens's reputation and the popularity
of his work established him as the leading American sculptor of the latter
half of the nineteenth century.
- DECORATIVE ARTS
- As the wealth of America grew after the Civil War, great
houses and art collections were created. Travel by train and ship and innovations
in communication brought America closer to Europe and the Orient and exposed
Americans to new cultures and artistic styles. Saint-Gaudens' reputation
was made at this time. The artist lived in the centers of European art,
Paris and Rome from 1867 to the early 1870s. Returning to America, his
earliest commissions were for decorative works - cameos, murals, decorative
sculptured panels, stained glass and silver. Through these commissions
the young artist became experienced in various artistic media and honed
his skill as an artist of strong expressive quality.
- THE CIVIL WAR
- Following the end of the Civil War in 1865, there was
a great public call for monuments and memorials dedicated to the leaders
and soldiers on both sides of the conflict. Saint-Gaudens responded to
this need with some of his most powerful sculptures. Through the Standing
Lincoln in Chicago, the monuments to Admiral David Farragut and
William Tecumseh Sherman in New York City, and the great Shaw Memorial
in Boston, Saint-Gaudens presented to the country works that changed the
public perception of civic sculpture. Of the hundreds of Civil War-inspired
monuments, his works stand out for their quiet dignity and inherent strength
- THE FEMALE FIGURE
- Saint-Gaudens's depictions of the female figure reveal
the true grace, breadth and beauty of his technique. Works such as Amor
Caritas, Tomb of Edwin Morgan, Diana, and the Adams
Memorial, included in this exhibition, were among the most unforgettable
sculptures of the 19th century. All different stylistically, these figures
reflect Saint-Gaudens's maturing approach to his depiction of the human
form. The earliest figures, Amor Caritas and the Angels for the
Tomb of Edwin Morgan, show the influence of Pre-Raphaelite imagery
in the almost dreamlike quality of the face and the flowing, graceful contours
of the figure. Diana is more classical in inspiration. Finally,
the Adams Memorial, with its mystery and power, reflects the strength of
emotion and the all-encompassing spirit that Henry Adams and the sculptor
sought to achieve. Whether earthly or spiritual, Saint-Gaudens's sculptures
of the female form are most assuredly elegant.
- PORTRAITS IN RELIEF
- Saint-Gaudens is best known for his relief portraiture.
Introduced to the style during his early years in Paris and Rome, he made
his first relief portraits in New York City following his return to the
United States in 1875. The painter John LaFarge suggested that the sculptor
try his hand at "painting" a bas-relief portrait, resulting in
the first of a series of such portrayals over the sculptor's lifetime.
The earliest reliefs in this exhibition are the portraits of William Picknell,
Dr. Walter Cary and Charles McKim, the first of more than twenty bas-relief
portraits of artists and friends he created while in Paris from 1877 to
1880. He continued to work in this medium throughout his career, producing
over one hundred in his lifetime. The style of these portraits changes
with time, taking on a more fluid, painterly style, and featuring experimentation
with both very high and very low relief, and novelties such as the portrait
of Bessie Smith seen in the exhibition, her arm placed outside the portrait's
frame. Critics consider Saint-Gaudens a master of the relief portrait in
the manner and tradition of the great artists of the Renaissance.
- MEDALS AND U.S. GOLD COINAGE
- Saint-Gaudens designed a number of commemorative medals,
including the World's Columbian Exposition Commemorative Presentation Medal,
1893; the George Washington Inaugural Centennial Medal, 1889; and the Theodore
Roosevelt Special Inaugural Medal, 1905. This last medal so pleased President
Theodore Roosevelt that he asked the artist to redesign the U.S. gold coinage.
Saint-Gaudens was the first professional sculptor in the United States
to produce designs for the nation's coinage. Between 1905-1907 the artist,
working with his assistant Henry Hering, produced designs for the twenty-dollar
and ten-dollar gold coins, and began work on the one-cent piece. Completed
after the artist's death, the twenty- and ten-dollar gold coins are considered
by collectors to be the most beautiful ever designed for American coinage.
(right: Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), World's Columbian
Exposition Medal, 1893, Bronze 76.5 mm. Private Collection)
Calendar of Events for The Gilded Age and the Rise
of American Public Sculpture
- BOTANICA, THE WICHITA GARDENS
- 701 Amidon
- Wichita, KS 67203
- Coexisting with the 24 beautiful gardens at Botanica,
The Wichita Gardens are 17 sculptures. Guided sculpture tours are available
at a special rate by calling Helen Pauls at 316-264-0448, Ext. 112 or by
e-mailing her at email@example.com. If you prefer to be on your own,
the cost of admission is $6 for adults, $5 for adults over 62 and $3 for
youth 5 - 21. Botanica is open Monday through Saturday 9 am - 5 pm (April
through November) and Sunday 1 pm - 5 pm.
- THE ULRICH MUSEUM OF ART
- Wichita State University
- 1845 Fairmount St
- Wichita, KS 67260-0046
(above: Charles Grafly Sculpture Garden, Wichita State
- The Wichita State University campus is home to more than
just classrooms. The grounds are filled with impressive sculptures, including
the Charles Grafly Sculpture Garden. This colonnaded garden honors the
memories of renowned American artist Charles Grafly
(1862-1929). Located on the southwest corner of campus near Hillside, the
gardens feature recent casts from Grafly's original plaster models. New
casts will be made every few years as dictated by the bequest from Grafly's
- The garden's concentric oval colonnades are designed
in the style of a traditional nineteenth-century garden structure, providing
an appropriate and compatible setting for Grafly's handsome figurative
bronzes. The ambience is further enhanced with seasonal plantings. "The
Grafly Garden is a wonderful addition to a beautiful campus," says
Butler. "It feels like a private retreat, a special, quiet place to
enjoy art and nature, available to everyone." The garden now houses
six sculptures; new works will be added as additional bronze casts are
made. (right: Charles Grafly (American, 1862-1929) Untitled (Icarus),
1894 (cast in 1973) Bronze 26 x 29 x13 inches. Gift of Dorothy Grafly Drummnd
and Charles Drummond .Wichita State University Foundation Art Collection
- For additional information or to arrange a tour of the
Grafly Garden or the entire WSU outdoor sculpture collection, call the
number listed above or visit www.ulrich.wichita.edu. The Ulrich Museum
of Art is open Tuesday through Friday 11 am to 5 pm and Saturday and Sunday
1pm to 5pm. Admission is free.
- WICHITA ART MUSEUM
- 1400 West Museum Boulevard
- Wichita, KS 67203
- In addition to the exhibition, the Museum will offer
the following events:
- Friday, April 22 - 6:30 pm - 8 pm
- The Museum will host an opening reception in the S. Jim
and Darla Farha Great Hall. There is no charge for Museum members; non-members
are invited to attend for $10. RSVP by calling 316-268-4912. The evening
will feature light hors d' oeuvres, live music and a cash bar. The Spartan
Café will also be open for dinner from 6:30 pm to 9 pm by reservation
- At 8 pm, Dr. Henry J. Duffy, Curator/Chief of Cultural
Resources, Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, NH will present
a lecture titled "Augustus Saint-Gaudens: The Life of the Studio."
- Co-curator of the exhibition Augustus Saint-Gaudens:
American Sculptor of the Gilded Age, Dr. Duffy will explore the role
of the studio and assistants in the work of the famed sculptor. While Saint-Gaudens
is known as the sculptor of major Civil War monuments, portraits, and coins,
the working methods in a nineteenth-century sculpture studio are not well
known today. Dr. Duffy will address this issue along with the working artist's
assistants and staff. In addition, he will include some of the artists
who worked in conjunction with Saint-Gaudens.
- Dr. Duffy is the curator of the home, studio and gardens
of American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, which includes the contents
of the artist's studio and over ten thousand sculptures and studies.
- Saturday, May 21 - 4 pm
- Dr. Erika Doss will present a lecture on "Statue
Mania: Sculpture and Memory in Gilded Age America."
- Professor of Art History at the University of Colorado
at Boulder and author of the books Twentieth Century American Art
and Spirit Poles and Flying Pigs: Public Art and Cultural Democracy
in American Communities, Dr. Erika Doss is an expert in American sculpture
and culture who previously lectured at the Museum on contemporary sculpture.
In a talk excerpted from her forthcoming book Memorial Mania: Self,
Nation, and the Culture of Commemoration in Contemporary America, she
will examine the multitude of sculptures, memorials, and monuments that
were made in America between the Civil War and World War I, with special
attention paid to Augustus Saint-Gaudens' public sculptures including the
Shaw Memorial (Boston), the Farragut Monument (New York), and the Sherman
Monument (New York).
- This lecture is free and will be presented in the Howard
E. Wooden Lecture Hall followed by a reception.
- Saturdays March 12, April 23 and May 14 - 11am - 3pm
- Bring the whole family for an hour of fun at Family Artventure!
Each of the above Saturdays will focus on a different aspect of the Augustus
Saint-Gaudens exhibition. After using a gallery guide featuring questions
and ideas to consider about the exhibition, the fun continues in the studio
where participants can explore new materials and create their own works
of art. Family Artventure is free and requires no reservations. Just stop
in at the Welcome Desk between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to begin
your artventure. For more information, call (316) 268-4907.
- Saturday, April 30 and Saturday May 14 - 1-4 pm
- Discover the number of public sculptures located throughout
the city of Wichita. Those interested are encouraged to tour the exhibition
at the Wichita Art Museum before boarding a trolley at 1 pm in the Museum
parking lot. Museum members can take part for $12, non-members for $15.
Tickets will be available for purchase at the Museum's Welcome Desk in
- Video Series
- A video series exploring sculpture past and present,
American and European, will begin on Tuesday, April 19. Each video will
begin at 12:30 pm in the Howard E. Wooden Lecture Hall. Videos are included
in paid Museum admission. For a listing of videos give us a call or visit
- WICHITA CENTER FOR THE ARTS
- 9112 E. Central
- Wichita, KS 67206
- From April 17 through June 17, 2005, the Wichita Center
for the Arts will feature a selection of sculptures from the Bruce Moore
archive, including public and private memorials, portrait reliefs and busts,
which embody the grace, beauty and power Moore sought to capture. Moore
approached sculpture with intensity, enthusiasm and determination -- mastering
the art of portraiture, thoroughly exploring the human figure and rendering
the portrayal of animals with discerning accuracy. The exhibition will
be on display in the Watkins Cases. The Wichita Center for the Arts is
open Tuesday through Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
- WICHITASEDGWICK COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM
- 204 S. Main
- Wichita, KS 67202
At the Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum an exhibition
titled "Souvenirs of the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893"
will be on display April 17 June 12. It will feature the official
medal of the exposition, which was designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. In
addition, programs and tickets from the fair will be on display with other
fair memorabilia. The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum is open
Tuesday through Friday 11 am to 4 pm. Saturday and Sunday 1 pm - 5 pm. Admission
is $4 for adults and $2 for children.
Editor's note: RL readers may also enjoy:
and these two videos:
- Augustus Saint-Gaudens: An American Original is a 28 minute 1995 video from Direct Cinema Limited directed
by Paul G. Sanderson III. This video draws on photographs, letters,
literary documents and the artist's works -- which are found in major cities,
public parks and museums throughout the United States -- to create a beautiful
and informative portrait of a neglected giant of American art. Centering
on the artist's adopted home of Cornish, New Hampshire, the film is an
excellent introduction to the man and his times, and to the work that helped
a weary nation begin to make sense of the war that almost tore it apart.
- Saint-Gaudens: Masque of the Golden Bowl. A lush 60 minute dramatization of the life and work of Augustus
Saint-Gaudens, pre-eminent sculptor of the American Renaissance, as seen
and recorded In his own words and those of his contemporaries. Shot on
Location in Boston, New York and New Hampshire. Produced in association
with the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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for Collectors and Students of Art History.
rev. 3/23/05, 10/19/13
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Historic Site, please click here.
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