SAAM Symposia – Augustus Saint-Gaudens Centennial

Well, good afternoon, I’m George Gurney, I’m the deputy chief curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and I want to welcome you all to the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture and this afternoon particularly, to this Saint-Gaudens centenary symposium which will be followed by the Washington premier of the film, “Augustus Saint-Gaudens: Master of American Sculpture”. I am pleased, although I cannot see you at this point, to see so many people here, and I hope they include young scholars searching for a field of study. The fact is that the history of American sculpture is still wide open for research, some 40 years after Wayne Craven’s publication of “Sculpture in America”, which inspired a generation of students such as myself. I hope the symposium will encourage a revival of interest. Before I introduce today’s speakers, I’d like to take a few minutes to give you a brief introduction to the works by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in our museum’s collection. For some of you, this will be somewhat of a repeat. I also want to thank the organizers of the symposium, particularly Cynthia Mills, who takes big kudos, and Amelia Gerlitz, who also takes big kudos, of the SAAM’s Research and Scholar Center, our extraordinary intern, Megan Graham, and all the research and scholar center and public event staffers who assisted with this event. SAAM owns 15 works Saint-Gaudens, all of which you can see in pixelated form on the screen. They run the gamut from portrait busts to reliefs, big and small, to a decorative panel, works related to his monumental commissions and his only ideal nude. They include works in marble, bronze and terra cotta, and a ceiling relief in a mixed media. They cover a 30 year period from 1872, when Saint-Gaudens was an unknown in New York, to the turn of the century, when he was the premier sculptor in the country. The collection is a surprisingly encompassing reflection of the sculptor’s career. One exception exists. There are none of his early cameos. Now, if any of you have one that you would like to donate to the museum, I’d be pleased to talk to you after this. What I find most intriguing about the museum’s Saint-Gaudens collection, acquired since 1929, is that there are only 3 purchases, all the rest were gifts. In the history of museums, I suppose this is not terribly unusual, or surprising, but in this case, it’s who they came from that adds interest and often a direct connection to Saint-Gaudens himself. But not always. One of the gems of the Smithsonian’s collection is a unique bronze cast, an 1889, I’m sorry, from 1889, and it’s the study for Saint-Gaudens’ first weather vane of Diana for the Madison Square Tower, designed by architect Stanford White. It differs considerably in its tangible realism from the more elegant and commonly known second version. We don’t know when the bronze was cast, or why, but the collector, John Gellatly, purchased it from the estate of Stanford White, and gave it to the Smithsonian in 1929 as part of his extensive collection. The unique terra cotta relief from 1884 of the sculptor’s pet Scotch Deerhound, Dunrobin, is also from the Gellatly collection. In a letter to Daniel Chester French, in 1908, Gellatly recounted, “Saint-Gauden said to me the Scotch Deerhound is the most beautiful dog”. The letter implies that Gellatly knew the sculptor and may have purchased it directly from him. To this day, I haven’t figured out the origin or purpose of the stand to which it is attached, seen on the right. This is the only Saint-Gaudens’ not on view in the museum today. My special theory is that the Scotch Deerhound looked like Saint-Gaudens himself, and that’s why he liked it. Saint-Gaudens originally modeled this delicate portrait as a wedding present in 1879 for the artist and writer, Francis Davis Millet, however this unique electrotype copy was not made until after 1896, when the sculptor was in Paris and became interested in the mechanical electrotype process used by the French. The relief from the estate of a Washington scientist and technician, Ernst Fisher, who worked for the Coast and Geodetic Survey’s instrument division, and developed a tide predicting apparatus. Why Fisher owned the work is unknown, but the fact that Millet went down on the Titanic makes for a seaworthy connection. On the left, a 1923 Roman bronze cast of the head of Saint-Gaudens’ standing Lincoln monument in Chicago, seen on the right, was offered over tea by a local widow to Thomas Beggs, then-director of the Smithsonian’s National Collection of Fine Arts. She simply wanted it to go to the Smithsonian. The next five acquisitions were part of what I call the “Wonder years”. The first cura– good. Richard Wonder, the first curator of sculpture, used his connections to build up the collection around the opening of this building as a museum in 1968. The classicized bust of Edwards Pierrepont, a supreme court justice, and the more contemporary depiction of his wife, Margaretta, were commissioned works modeled in 1872 and carved in Italy in the 1874. They were donated by the couple’s granddaughter. Almost, also in 1968, a local gallery contacted Wonder about a plaster cast of the second version of the head of Victory that Saint-Gaudens preferred but didn’t use for his Sherman memorial figure. The plaster is inscribed “To John H. Spaulding, 1902”, and was presumably a gift by the sculptor to a gentleman whom we’ve not been able to identify, although maybe this morning we now have a clue that it potentially could be a founder in Chicago. The interesting thing is that Wonder purchased that piece for 630 dollars. In today’s business, that would be a buy. Saint-Gaudens’ modeled this likeness of his friend, the lawyer Charles Cotesworth Beaman, Jr., as a partial payment in 1894, for an estate in Cornish, New Hampshire that the sculptor was to call Aspet and is now the national historic site. Although several surmoulages exist, this is one of only 3 original bronze to survive. The grandson, Charles C. Beaman III, arbited to the National Portrait Gallery, in 1969. Secretary Ripley replied that the National Portrait Gallery Commission felt that the bas-relief more fittingly belonged in the National Collection of Fine Art. Simply put, [Lallet] was not important enough. By chance, in 1967, John Dryfhout, the curator at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, related to Richard Wonder, that the Saint-Gaudens Memorial trustees had been granted permission by the Adams family, to reproduce in bronze Saint-Gaudens’ “Adams Memorial” in Rock Creek Cemetery, here in Washington, seen on the right. Seeing a wonderful opportunity, Wonder worked quickly to obtain approval for a second cast to be made by the Roman bronze works, and paid for by the museum. The original figure, over on the right, sits on a granite rock. Ours, and the one at the National Historic Site, sits on a bronze rock. In 1890, Saint-Gaudens modeled this full-length portrait of John Singer Sargent’s sister, Violet, in exchange for a painting by Sargent, of the sculptor’s son Homer, with his mother, now in the Carnegie Museum. This bronze, one of only two at this size, came directly from Violet’s granddaughter, Rose Pitman Hughes, and is seen in its original frame on the right. Only 4 inches in diameter, and one of the only two known casts, the medallion here is a reduced version of a larger, rectangular, portrait relief modeled in 1889, of the painter and art critic Kenyon Cox. You can see the original relief, or the rectangular relief, in the collection of the Portrait Gallery. It was a bequest of the painter’s son, Allen Cox, whose murals decorate many of Washington’s buildings. The small reduction of the first version of the Saint-Gaudens relief of Robert Louis Stevenson came in 1983 as part of a large bequest by the artist and art administrator, Olin Dows, who had close ties with Washington. He assisted Edward Bruce in establishing and running the Treasury Department’s art program in the 1930s. One of the museum’s best examples of the beaux-art aesthetic, “Apollo with Cupids”, is the only stamp panel of four identical reliefs designed by John La Farge and modeled by Saint-Gaudens, for the dining room ceiling of Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s New York residence, completed in 1883. Removed when the mansion was demolished in 1926, the panel passed into the possession of Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, however, in 1986, it turned up at auction, at Butterfield and Butterfield, in San Francisco, as an unidentified front panel on an Italian Renaissance-style cassone, or wedding chest. It was a gift purchase from dealer J. Maroney. Finally, this bronze statuette is based on Saint-Gaudens’ “Puritan”, a monument to Deacon Samuel Chapin, who was one of the original settlers of Springfield, Massachusetts. A 6th generation descendant of the deacon commissioned the monument, which was unveiled in 1887. Our cast, which has no foundry mark, came to us from another side of the Chapin family from Springfield. On the right is the condition it was in when the museum received it, and on the left is the restored, present condition. SAAM, of course, is not the only museum in Washington with works by Saint-Gaudens. National Portrait Gallery owns 6, many of which are on display on the first floor of the building. The Corcoran has 5, the Freer has 2, and the Numismatics Division of the National Museum of American History has a number of numismatic works. Although the National Gallery owns only 2 works, it has on long-term loan the magnificent plaster model of the Shaw memorial, with related other works from Saint-Gaudens’ National Historic Site. Now let’s move onto today’s program. I will introduce each speaker in turn. We will ask that you all keep your questions until all of the speakers come onstage at the end for discussion with Erika Doss. We will have a brief break after the second lecture, and another longer one before the film, which begins at 5. Please join us for a reception afterwards in the upstairs lobby. Our first speaker tonight is Henry Duffy, curator and chief cultural resources at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire. He holds a doctorate in art history from Rutgers University, and has written and lectured widely on Saint-Gaudens, 19th century culture and art. His topic today is “Voices from Across the Sea: The European Associates of Augustus Saint-Gaudens”. Please welcome Henry Duffy. [Applause] Thank you. The, with the interest of time, I’m going to give a very large topic in a very short time. What interested me when I began to think about talking this afternoon was, although we’re celebrating the centennial of Saint-Gaudens’ death, to begin with the early part of his career, not the last part. Saint-Gaudens began his career, really in Europe, and that’s significant, and that led me to think of Saint-Gaudens as both an American artist and a European artist. I think perhaps more than almost any other artist, American artists, of his time, Saint-Gaudens developed a career as a European artist living in American, as he was seen in Europe, and as an American artist living in Europe, as he was seen here. That began early in his career, and it continued on and off throughout his life. Just to place it for you, Saint-Gaudens was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1848, he came to America as a baby and was raised in New York City. He had early training in New York City before going to Europe in 1867. You see a picture of him that was taken just before he left New York to go to Paris, he was 19 years old, and what he was going to see is transposed onto the picture there. That’s the World’s Fair in Paris, the exhibition in 1867. It was the first major World’s Fair in Paris that was really the basis of why he was going there. He was also going there to try and learn about art, because in 1867, although there were opportunities to learn about art in New York, and he had taken advantage of them, there wasn’t the same depth of training that he could get in Europe. The star of the Fair in, as far as sculpture was concerned, was this piece by a Ticinese artist, a Swiss-Italian artist, named Vincenzo Vela. The subject matter is Napoleon at the end of his life in Saint Helena, and the original of it is still in the artist’s studio, Vela’s studio, in Ligornetto, Switzerland, but there are various other versions of it around the world. Although this was the centerpiece of the sculpture exhibit, we don’t know how much Saint-Gaudens was taken with it, or not. He certainly would have seen it, but I think what, for him, would have meant more was the art he would have seen on the streets of Paris itself. Something, this kind of art was something he never would have seen in New York. He would have known nothing at all about this kind of art. And it must have been a real eye-opener for him. On the left is “The Dance” by Carpeaux, which is on the facade of the opera house that was being built by Garnier in the center of Paris, and on the right is one of the sculptural panels by Francois Rude, which is on the Arc de Triomphe. What would have been amazing to Saint-Gaudens is the energy and the emotional quality of works like this. It’s a kind of a explosion of style and art which he just would have, he must have been dumbfounded by, because it would have been so unusual to him. The piece that really affected him the most, and it’s the first piece that he mentions in his memoirs, is something that really affected him, was this one. It’s a piece by the artist Francois Jouffroy, and it’s a piece which is called “Young Girl Sharing her Secrets”, or “Giving her first secret to Venus”. It was seen also at the fair, and this is the one that Saint-Gaudens really remembered for the rest of his life. It’s the thing that really kind of pushed him in the direction of where he was going to go in his career. I think because of his, and I think I could almost say infatuation with this piece, he chose Jouffroy’s studio to study in, and so his first master in, well, not first master, his first master at the Ecole de Beaux-Arts was Jouffroy, he had actually studied with a man named Jaco, initially, but the first serious study was with Jouffroy. I think what took him by surprise with the piece like this was the combination of reality of realism, and also an emotional quality which he just would have not seen anything like before. And it really pushed him to try to do that kind of sculpture himself. If you do this, look at this comparison of what he would have been familiar with, if you look at the Greek Slave on the left, various versions of which were seen around, they were seen in New York and other places. That’s the kind of depiction of the female nude that he would have been familiar with, and you can see the similarities and the differences, you can see the kind of chaste, almost puritanical quality of the powers, and you can see the, the kind of more emotive quality of the Jouffroy. Saint-Gaudens had gone to Paris with the idea of studying at Ecole de Beaux-Arts, with the kind of youthful enthusiasm which comes with any 19 year old. He imagined he was just going to walk in the door and they would welcome him with a band of trumpets. It didn’t happen. What he discovered when he got there is that he actually couldn’t do that, that he actually had to make application through the American ambassador. Through some way we don’t know, it’s not recorded, he had met the director of the Ecole de Beaux-Arts, who informed him of this fact that he had to go through the ambassador. He did that, he told the ambassador that he was going to be in Paris for nine months, so he was expecting his studies to be done by then, and what actually happened is that it took nine months for the application process to go through, so he didn’t actually get into the school until the nine months was over. In the meantime, he was studying at what was called the “petite ecole”. It was at the Ecole de Medecine, it was on the Rue de L’Ecole de Medecine, the medical school street, in Paris, and the system for learning in the Ecole was to go first to this small school where you would learn the rudiments of art, drawing, and then if you were accepted, you would go on to the main school, and I wanted to show this, because what’s interesting about the Ecole, where the buildings are laid out in Paris, is that the architecture itself is laid out the way the curriculum works. The classroom is here, and the hemicycle, it’s an auditorium like this one is, a semicircular version, the origin of it is Plato’s academy, and it’s an ancient form for teaching, it was used in the Middle Ages and so on. But it represents the head of a human body, so it’s the word, the mind, which is at the head of it, and then following it, which would be the corpus or the body, you see the Gallery Grec, the Greek gallery and the Roman gallery, and what was in the grand vestibule were paintings, so you had the classics on either side and then modern painting and sculptures were based on it, and even you the first courtyard and the second courtyard, the earliest students would have their classes here, wouldn’t even be admitted here. So, it’s a process, it’s a progression, which he would have had to go through, that he would not even have been admitted there until he was admitted to the final school. The photograph over here is something which actually, I have to say, may or may not be at the Ecole, we’re not entirely sure, but it, I bring it as an example because it shows the way these things work. There’s the professor here, and I don’t know if you can see it or not, but he’s carrying a large stick, which is not unlike the ballet master in a ballet school, for the same purpose, that the professor would often carry a stick like that to beat out the rhythm of the class, more or less. It was to make his points when he was lecturing, he would hammer on the thing to do this. Now, with Jouffroy, Jouffroy was the son of a baker, and his thing was to take a piece of bread and roll it into little balls as he was speaking, but that was just his personality, but most people would have this stick, and in the background, you can also see the cast of classical sculpture, which they would be copying, so they would be working from that, and here’s the model and the male models were actually called “academies”, to identify them, so they were themselves the academic version coming to life, so taking from the classics to the human model and then the students would copy it. What I wanted to introduce quickly today, actually very quickly as I see the time escaping, is actually his early French associates. He met a number of these people in the Ecole, many of them actually came from the south, which is where Saint-Gaudens’ father came from, and that certainly would have drawn him to them, they would have had, they would have spoken French with the same southern accent, the same patroi which would have drawn them together. It would have been instantly recognizable to each other in the classroom because of that. This is a sculptor named Paul Dubois. He’s often confused because there was a Belgium sculptor named Paul du Bois working at the same time, which is really confusing, but anyway, this is the French version. This piece of John the Baptist was a very important one and one in which Saint-Gaudens would have seen right away, and he was very much drawn to it. What he liked, similar to the Jouffroy, what he liked in it, was the easy grace of it, and again, he hadn’t seen that before, but that has kind of a curve of the human body which is something he was much attracted to. This is a part of a larger commission that Dubois did in the eastern city of Nantes, it’s a tomb for a French general in which there are these figures that are somewhat based on Renaissance marbles, and that’s of importance to Saint-Gaudens. All of the artists that he came in contact with, that he followed, were part of a group, including Jouffroy, including, they were a group called the Neo-Florentines, and they were doing art that other French sculptors were not doing. They were taking as their basis more the Renaissance than Rome and that’s rather interesting and what they got out of that was this more human version, this more human scale of art. Working on a kind of a emotive quality, this is “Victory” and here the figure Victory is carrying a body of a fallen soldier and you can see that in the other artists of the time that would have influenced him as well, here Falguiere, also from Toulouse. Fremiet. Fremiet and Saint-Gaudens was really taken by the Joan of Arc, but Fremiet was really known for these very, to us, very odd pieces of combining this nature and art, but it was at the time when evolution, Darwin’s theories, were being promulgated, and there was this sense of the savageness of life contrasted with civilian, with the civility of the classical world, and the kind of the, that the two forms fighting against each other. You saw the same thing in Stevenson’s with something like the play of Jekyll and Hyde, the same notion of the two elements of the human soul fighting against each other that, and that of course Saint-Gaudens would have seen nothing like that in America. And here the two contrasts of French sculpture, Gerome on the left, whom Saint-Gaudens was much taken with. He worked with Gerome, and in fact, he was so much taken that when the official biography was written of Jerome, Saint-Gaudens wrote the introduction to the book, which is quite interesting Rodin, Saint-Gaudens had an interesting relationship with. The two of them were quite wary of each other, they knew that they were at the same level of art, they were friends but they were friends in the sense of being colleagues, but they were also quite, quite friendly. Saint-Gaudens went to Rodin’s studio several times, he’s spent at least one day in Meudon, and presumably the two of them had quite interesting talks about art. I have to say that Saint-Gaudens preferred the earlier works of Rodin. This one, when he saw it, he didn’t get it, and you can see if you’re trained with something like Gerome, you wouldn’t get it. He told his son when he came back that this looked to him like a guttering candle, the Balzac, he just didn’t catch it, but he respected Rodin, and Rodin respected him, and the two of them did work very closely together. Saint-Gaudens loaned his staff photographer, a man named Ward, to Rodin, to do some pictures, so the two of them worked together. A little side note if I have the time, I’d tell you a story but I don’t, but he met, in one of his visits to Rodin, he met Camille Claudel, and had some interesting comments about her, which is interesting. In 1870, Saint-Gaudens in Paris was attending the opera when, rather dramatically, someone ran onto the stage and announced Paris was at, France was at war with Prussia, and began to sing the Marseillaise, and the audience all joined in, and then rushed out into the night, full of patriotic fervor. Saint-Gaudens himself did the same. He rushed out and immediately wrote a letter to his family in America saying he himself was going to join the French forces to defend against the homeland. As you can imagine, his mother nixed that. She wrote back and said, “no, you’re not doing that”. So, he instead went to join his younger brother, both younger brothers, Louis and Andrew, in Limoges, they were, at the time, painting designs on porcelain, at the Limoges factory, and after a while, he went off to Rome with Louis, and Andrew went back to America. He got to Rome in 1871, where he soon found a studio in the Barberini palace, with his friend that he had met in Paris at the Ecole, Antonio Soares des Reis, who was a Portuguese artist. This is a later work by Reis, and Reis, it’s interesting because Saint-Gaudens here began to expand his world view, he became known to Italian artists, and Portuguese artists and others, which is quite interesting. In the studio, the two of them began to work on what was going to be their masterpieces, and if these two works look amazingly similar, it’s because they were done in the same room, at the same time. The one on the right by Soares, and the one of the left by Saint-Gaudens. The one on the left is the “Hiawatha”, it’s the work that Saint-Gaudens declared was going to astonish the world. Well, he had to wait a little bit for that to happen, actually. The one on the right really did astonish the world. In the English, it’s often called “The Exile”, but in Portuguese, if you translate the Portuguese, it really means “The desperate one”, or the “the lost one”. It’s a little more, it’s a little more poignant than just “the exile”. Soares’ piece, this marble, when it went back to Portugal, really did make him a household name. It created his career, it was a sensation, so much so that almost immediately, it was given its own home. There is a museum for Soares near Porto, and this is the star of it. So that really did astonish the world. This one didn’t quite. They’re interesting. Saint-Gaudens, I think, would have known absolutely nothing about the historical Hiawatha, the great Indian chief, I don’t think he would have known anything. He would have gotten his information about Hiawatha from Cooper, from “The Last of the Mohicans” and that kind of thing. So it was a very young, imaginative world that he was dealing with. It’s a kind of a typical young man’s sculpture. The pose is nothing new, for both of them. It’s kind of a seated pose, leaning forward with the legs crossed like that is something, there are many versions of that all around in the class–as you can see, the origin of that in the classics or other places, so that’s nothing particularly new. The expression of the Indian chief, as a kind of a Roman warrior is perhaps somewhat new, although not really, because Saint-Gaudens would actually have known of another version of that, which was Thomas Crawford’s “Indian”, which he would have known about in New York. Crawford was a early American ex-patriot to Rome, he had come under the sway of Thorwaldsen, which you can see in his sculpture. This, Crawford’s piece was planned for the US Capitol as a pediment sculpture, but it’s interesting when you look at the two, and I’m, it’s, Crawford’s piece had made quite a name in New York, so I’m sure Saint-Gaudens would have known about it, and he certainly would have been inspired by it when he did his. So he would have taken American origins, European origins, to fit the two together. Saint-Gaudens had to wait until this piece, the Admiral Farragut in New York, to really astonish the world. This is his first important, well, not the first important commission in New York, but the first one that really was widely known throughout the world, and it’s the one which leads him into his further career, and in conclusion what I just want to say is that, and I know this has been fast, but I’m coming in just under my deadline here which the organizers of the symposium will thank me for, I’m sure, but the, what I want to conclude with is the fact that Saint-Gaudens was an extremely talented young man, very great native talent, he was carving wonderful cameos in New York before he even had any real training, he came to Paris, got wonderful training, met this very unique group of European artists, the Neo-Florentines, that pushed him into this direction of combining the Renaissance with the classics, with kind of an emotive quality, and you see it all in his pieces here, in the base of the introduction of Art Nouveau in America, the Farragut, which is based on the Saint George of Donatello, the pose, but makes it into modern dress and it really sets the course for Saint-Gaudens’ career becoming the great cosmopolitan artist that he was. Thank you very much. [Applause] Thank you, Henry. Our next speaker is Cynthia Mills, who concocted this whole symposium, and we should be thankful to her. She is the executive director of the journal, “American Art”, and academic adviser here at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She earned her PhD in Art History from the University of Maryland, with a dissertation on Saint-Gaudens’ Adams Memorial, and since that time, has continued to investigate turn-of-the-century cemetery sculpture. Her topic today is “Saint-Gaudens’ Lost Angels”. Please welcome Cynthia Mills. [Applause] Augustus Saint-Gaudens has been justly admired as the leading sculptor of Civil War monument and intimate bas-reliefs in the late 19th century. His claim to mastery of another genre, that of sculpture for the American cemetery, a quasi-public, quasi-private place, is usually discussed in terms of one figure: the extraordinary Adams Memorial in Rock Creek Cemetery here in Washington. A bronze cast of this monument is one of our museum’s great attractions, owing to its aura of meditation and mystery, qualities that were desired by the patron, Henry Adams, who was interested in Buddhism. In my dissertation and other writings, I have called the Adams memorial one of a new breed of high-style monuments, American cemetery monuments, that ruptured the expectations for Christian symbolism, such as angels and crosses, at this time of loss. It replaces certainty of the hereafter, with a sense of aesthetic wonder. I have been rethinking my conclusions of late as I continue to investigate Saint-Gaudens’ larger career. Had it not been for a mysterious fire in a Hartford cemetery, and some other considerations, we might see his mastery of the funerary genre as much more extensive and multilayered. We might also see the sculptor embracing overtly Christian iconography on more occasions, albeit in his own highly refined manner, and here is some examples to consider. We see his angel for the Morgan tomb at upper left, then clockwise, his Hamilton-Fish memorial, Baker monument, and King Cross. In fact, Saint-Gaudens considered funerary art a significant aspect of his relations with wealthy patrons, including former New York governors, Edwin Morgan and Hamilton Fish. We know that he made some 10 sculptures and reliefs for cemeteries, and also did some closely related work for churches. So I’d like to talk today about how these projects, some of these projects, raise some questions not yet fully addressed. The account begins in the late 1870s when Saint-Gaudens, young earnest and ambitious, has set up a group of works in his studio to demonstrate the range of his mastery. He has just received the commission in 1876 for the Farragut memorial, his first major public monument, and on the right you see his early head of Admiral Farragut. At lower left, an early bas-relief, and at center, the cross being prepared for the family tomb of Edward King, the largest landowner in Newport, Rhode Island. I see see in this photo, a deliberate display for a photographer, of Saint-Gaudens’ achievements in the three genre, each in fact shown here as in equal importance. Saint-Gaudens is thirty years old. He has studied at the Ecole de Beaux-Arts, completed his first ideal figures, and met his key collaborators, John La Farge, and Stanford White, yet we find our hero laboring over a large cost, an unfigurative commission for a gravesite that he was executing for John La Farge. In the United States, cemetery sculpture has often, with a few, important exceptions, have been the province of artisans and stone cutters. This was a quasi-commercial realm where aspiring fine arts sculptors sometimes gained initial training, but not the place they hoped to stay. Yet with his training in Europe, where figurative models for the cemetery appear in a Paris salon, it was his familiarity with Renaissance and 19th century Italian sculpture, that with his need need for income, Saint-Gaudens was comfortable in this realm and in fact throughout his career, demonstrated an interest in elevating the quality of cemetery design. Saint-Gaudens had also recently assisted La Farge, at right, in the decoration of Saint Thomas’ Episcopal Church, in New York, with a lightning speed never again to be repeated. Repeatedly an angel a day, he had created for La Farge a polychrome concrete relief seen at center, with 14 life-size angels for the reredos of the church. La Farge painted the surrounding murals, which showed themes of the resurrection. Again, the cross was at the center, the rector called the composition, “the angels adoring the mystery of the cross”, and he wrote Saint-Gaudens, that he hoped “the angels'”, in his words, “sad and wondering eyes would show their irrepressible impulse to adore the divine victim Jesus, about to sacrifice himself for man, human kind”. Saint-Gaudens compared the final design to Ghiberti’s doors in Florence baptistery. The fact that this was a protestant church, and a cross, not a crucifix, did not appear to concern either artist. Saint-Gaudens himself a child of French and Irish immigrant parents, was clearly a non-practicing or fallen away Catholic. His son, Homer, wrote later of his “catholic education”, but also spoke of his life-long preference of the joyful knowledge of some larger universal force, and his distaste for the chest-thumping guilt inspired by his early church training. Saint-Gaudens spoke of his belief in a form of evolution, and in a quote, “great power”, revealing vague spiritual thoughts combined with ideas about science and aesthetics. He believed in the progression of man, in opposition to stasis, and some sort of positive cosmic force, but referred in a number of times to, “piece of god”. He once told Henry Adams, he knew nothing of Buddhism, but of course his ecclesiastical sculpture references were often primarily based, in part, on his lifelong exposure to Catholic-inspired art. This might have ranged from the decoration of old Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, seen here, where his Irish-born mother sent him to Sunday school, to the great churches he was familiar with in his adult trips to Catholic Italy and France, where his father was born, and here Old Saint Pat’s in Lower Manhattan as it looks today, is much changed since the 19th century, but the old graveyard next to it still stands and one can arrange to visit the mortuary vaults beneath. Saint-Gaudens was, as we just heard, fluent in French and spent much time abroad, but his experience differed from that of his French and Italian artistic colleagues in that most of his patrons were protestant. It seems clear that with them, Saint-Gaudens would often stress his French cultural cosmopolitanism, rather than his less prestigious Irish heritage, and would perhaps have been wary of references to his Catholic upbringing. As a sculptor who frequently received commissions through personal negotiations, he needed to be a kind of chameleon who would please patrons of different stripes. He married Augusta Homer in an 1877 service at her home, presided over by her Unitarian brother-in-law, but surely in his five years overseas that we just heard about, as a young adult, he burned candles for his beloved mother in the great basilicas where he viewed artistic masterworks. This background must be considered as part of his mix of experience, especially when he made sculptures dealing with faith and with death. On one occasion, La Farge spoke to Saint-Gaudens about ways to stay religiously neutral. He wrote that the minister of Saint Thomas had expressed concern that the angels Saint-Gaudens was making would be too Catholic. “All you need to do–” “All you need to do,” La Farge advised the sculptor, “is not to make any aurials around their heads.” So no halos. That way, he said, the angels will “be neither high nor low church.” The painter, Will Low, who assisted with the polychroming of these figures in Paris, pulled the perhaps apocryphal story of the Saint Thomas angels, validating their religious force. When they were ready to be shipped to New York, Saint-Gaudens set them in his Paris studio, in front of some candles, to see how they would look in subdued light, and opened the studio doors as well to let natural light enter. An older woman passerby, as the story goes, saw the angels through the open door and dropped to her knees, declaring “mon dieu, seppeau”. Sadly, these reliefs were destroyed in a fire in the church chancel in 1905. Although Saint-Gaudens always dismissed them as a too-quickly executed collaborative project, with their destruction, we have lost one benchmark for assessing his artistic evolution. I want to focus the remainder of my talk on the sculptor’s most significant early cemetery design, his choir of three angels, each nine feet tall, intended to stand atop a mausoleum in Hartford for the family of Edwin Denison Morgan, beneath a colossal cross. This Morgan tomb was also lost to fire, just as it was coming to completion in 1884, as we need to use our imagination to envision it, and this photo shows the model for the central angel. Patron Edwin Morgan had been governor of New York during the Civil War and briefly a U.S. senator. President Lincoln made him a major general for his aid to the Union cause. He had been amongst Saint-Gaudens’ early patrons, having purchased his ideal sculpture of Hiawatha. In addition, Morgan had advocated for Saint-Gaudens’ selection to design the Farragut Memorial, so he was an absolutely crucial figure in the young sculptor’s career. Morgan was also a protestant religious philanthropist who had given at least three-quarter of a million dollars to Union Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian institution in New York for religious training. His fortune was estimated at nearly 10 million dollars, but he and his wife had suffered greatly. Only one of their five children lived to adulthood, and that son also died before his parents. Governor Morgen had begun his political career on the Hartford City Council, and in 1868, he had purchased one of the finest lots in the new Cedar Hills Cemetery in Hartford. One hundred square feet on one of its highest points. Designed by Jacob Vitamin, Cedar Hill Cemetery was among the many built in the wake of the rural cemetery movement and was only officially consecrated only that year. Vitamin put new emphasis on opening unbroken vistas, and the cemetery has an unusual 65-acre entrance area of landscape and ponds, called an ornamental foreground, that the visitor passes through before coming upon any graves. This was an important civic space under development, documenting Hartford’s status and values, as well as a private space for mourning. Many of Hartford’s wealthiest would be buried here under very big, very expensive monuments. A key early monument there was [Randalf Roger’s] Samuel Colt Memorial, which features an angel of resurrection holding a horn, signals the second coming. As early as 1875, Governor Morgan was in discussion with the architect, Stanford White, seen at right, and Saint-Gaudens for his mausoleum. He was originally to be surmounted by a ring of eight, white, marble angels beneath a 25 foot cross. The project, as envisioned, would have been a sensation, more than 35 feet high. There really was nothing like it in American cemetery, unless you consider something like Abraham Lincoln’s huge, wholly secular tomb in a Springfield, Illinois, cemetery, which featured bronze sculpture by Larkin Mead, which had been completed in 1874. The commission for the Morgan angels was awarded four years later, in early 1878. Saint-Gaudens and White quickly settled on the reduced plan for a choir of three angels to stand atop the mausoleum, and this was partly for reason of cost, as Morgan refused to go over 20 thousand dollars. These sketches, they represent some early ideas for the angels, but in the final design they are not praying as at left, but chanting. The central angel holds a musical scroll, as in the drawing, and in the final version, the two flanking angels, we believe, will be playing stringed instruments, singing at the joy about the resurrection, about how the dead will rise again. And here you see the two, frequent tall plaster casts, for two of the angels, sadly missing their wings and arms. All we know about the Morgan angels comes from these models at the Saint-Gaudens National historic Site, and a few photographs that Saint-Gaudens perhaps had sent to Stanford White. The central angel, again as distinctive for its swaying posture and costume with a low-slung floral belt and floral hair decoration. White counseled Saint-Gaudens to make his figures as severe and non-picturesque as possible, and the result is dignified, and androgynous, not pretty. Beneath the distinctive folds of the costume, there are little physical fullness. And this figure looks down at a scroll that perhaps contained musical notes, and here are some examples of cherubs and angels that had held such musical scrolls in Italian art. The angel on our left held the small harp or lyre with mouth open in song, and its costume is distinguished by a wide sash that is also found in the surviving cast, and we have no model or clear view of the angel on our right, whose face is in shade in this photograph, and then there’s one other tiny, unclear photo that has been associated with that figure. According to description by Stanford White, the angels were all chanting, he said the lines written underneath, “Gloria in Excelsis Deo”, “Glory to God on High”, a hymn of praise used in many Christian denominations. They stand before a tree of life that springs from the cross, and its leaves create a natural aurial over their heads, so again there is no need for conventional halos. We did not know what specific suggestions the patron made for this iconographic program. Once the plan for a group of angels was settled upon, though, Morgan clearly selected and approved drawings or photographs put before him as the project progressed. In one 1879 letter, Stanford White urged Saint-Gaudens to “explain the evolution of the angelic choir to the governor”, and here I’ll read a long quote from White in New York to Saint-Gaudens in Paris. “By all means, I think you had better write Morgan about his angels. I think they are busting, and so do all of us, but Morgan, and above all, Mrs. Morgan, may have some preconceived notions… The chief reason I say this is because somebody was in the office, and saw the photographs and asked me if it was a musical party; and seemed somewhat shocked when I told him it was over a tomb. Some people…always think of death as a gloomy performance instead of a resurrection… So I think I should write them a note about looking at death as a resurrection, etc. etc.” Saint-Gaudens and White, of course, shared a love of music, but however they arrived at this concept, angelic musicians were not the standard Renaissance iconography for a gravesite, or a resurrection scene. Musical angels most often accompanied nativity scenes, or serenade the Virgin holding her infant child in Renaissance paintings. “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” was sung by the angels when they announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds. And angels in the cemetery are more likely to weep or guard, or organically hold a musical instrument as a horn sounding the judgement day, summoning the second coming. There were many smaller figures, such as little cherubs atop mausoleums in American cemeteries, and certainly crosses, but nothing like the Morgan angels. One later example of a figural group atop a mausoleum at large scale is this Foster Mausoleum, in Middleburgh, New York, by Evelyn Beatrice Longman. I might also mention that the number three, of course, summons up the trinity, but in documentatal cemeteries, it is more common that a trio represents hope, faith and charity, or even, as on the right, the three fates. In some, this would have been a wholly original composition for American cemetery. The design, so the design would have been sensation there in Hartford, but as was his want, Saint-Gaudens juggled projects, making Morgan wait for years. Finally, at great pains, he selected and shipped two blocks of carrara marble to Hartford, where he contracted with local stonecutters to carve the angels and cross on-site in the cemetery, using his plaster models as their guide. In 1883, while the carving was continuing, a disappointed Morgan died at age 72, and I have to say he was not the only patron of Stanford White and Saint-Gaudens to whom this happened. A thousand people, including General Grant and Chester Arthur, thronged the brick Presbyterian church for Morgan’s funeral, where the congregation sang “My Faithful Looks Up to Thee”. A special four-car train then carried his body to Hartford, where his remains were placed in the barren granite mausoleum that had been erected as the platform for his unfinished angels and cross. In the meantime, the marble carvers had built a temporary wood shed around the sculpture and cross in the cemetery to protect them from the elements as they labored for nearly two years, winter and summer. And one of them recalled that they were just three weeks away from completing the carving when tragedy struck. The marbles were blackened and cracked in a huge fire within the shed that was, and the fire was discovered near midnight on August 21, 1884. Saint-Gaudens wrote his wife of the calamity, “utter ruin” of his angels. According to the cemetery superintendent, he soon arrived at the graveyard in his horse-drawn carriage, desperate to know whether any of his plaster models had survived. He assumed he would need them to start the project over again, but to his added horror, Mrs. Morgan refused to proceed. We have no explanation of her decision. Was she concerned about money? Cost had always been an issue and at one point White referred to Morgan as a “damned blue-blooded presbyterian” for his tight-fistedness. Or was she concerned about the sheer grandiosity and even oddity of her projected tomb? Or did the family feel that the sculptor and architect had breached faith by their incessant delays? For whatever reason, the project was abandoned, and here is how the mausoleum looks today, an architectural pedestal still waiting more than a century later for its angels to arrive. It’s roof is now capped by a kind-of acorn-ish structure, and there is a small cross over the door. As several trees have risen around it over the decades, it has taken on the look of a dark fortress. All accounts make clear that the Saint-Gaudens family believe the fire to have been arson, but no charges were apparently ever brought against anyone, and Saint-Gaudens, who had advanced his own money to complete the project, had to enlist a friend to help get the Morgans to make up some of his financial losses. The ruined stone was hauled away and some of it used by contractors for building foundations. It was a great tragedy for our sculptor, a sad end of what had been a key relationship for the philanthropic patron. But Saint-Gaudens, in his evolution as a sculptor, had continued with other projects for the cemetery, including his Hamilton Fish Memorial in Garrison, for another former governor of New York, and his angels for the Stewart Mausoleum in Brooklyn, for the father of Isabella Stewart Gardner. And he re-used the central figure from the Morgan tomb in several forms. The Smiths tomb in Rhode Island was credited to his brother, Louis, perhaps because of the legal fracas over the Morgan losses. The costume is repeated in caryatids, over the fireplace mantle, in the Cornelius Vanderbilt house in New York; the angelic form recurs in the Baker tomb, Kisco, New York, a project completed by Saint-Gaudens’ assistants after his death; and most significantly, the he made an ideal figure called the “Amor Caritas”, his only work purchased by the French government. It was reproduced in reduced form many times and it’s image was used together with the Adams memorial at his own memorial service in New York, and on the program, “A Retrospective Exhibition”. The angels lived on, and in our scholarship we do need to consider them, to reimagine them as one part of this important sculptor’s life and achievements. Thank you. [Applause] Okay, at this point, we’re going to take a snappy, 10 minute break. Please stretch and return to your seats soon. [Misc. chatter during the break in the audience] Thank you all for being so responsive and keeping to the ten-minute time limit. Beginning our second session here, we’re going to begin with Thayer Tolles, who is associate curator of American painting and sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She recently co-authored “Captured Motion: The Sculpture of Harriet Whitney Frishmuth” and she is, was the editor and co-author of the two volume catalogue, “American Sculpture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art”. Her doctoral dissertation at City University of New York dealt with Augustus Saint-Gaudens and his critics, the New School of American Sculpture, 1875-1893. Her talk today is “After Saint-Gaudens: Casts, Memories and Legacies”. Please welcome Thayer Tolles. [Applause] Thank you, George, and thank you Cindy, it’s exhilarating, always, to be in the company of so many people who love sculpture. I guess, cause you already have a Lincoln and I can say that I, at the Met, would love to have a Lincoln, so I’m going to put out a call for that. Today, September 7th, 2007, marks one hundred years and one month, to the day, after Augusta Saint-Gaudens buried her husband’s ashes. While his passing after a seven-year struggle with intestinal cancer was expected, she of course experienced the powerful sense of loss that accompanies the loss of a spouse. As she wrote to the sculptor’s close friend, Richard Watson Gilder, just two weeks after his death, she confessed, “now it is so terrible to go on alone”, and alone was underlined. But Mrs. Saint-Gaudens soon found a way to productively channel her grief, by perpetuating her husband’s memory, through the production and display of his sculpture. As she put it, “to do honor to Mr. Saint-Gaudens”. Within weeks of his death, she contacted monument commissions about unfinished projects, here I’m showing you at Trinity Church in Boston, the Philip Brooks Monument, which was unveiled in 1910. She also watched over a steady stream of publications, soluding Saint-Gaudens’ achievements, including, here on the right, Royal Cortissoz’s monograph that appeared just three years after the sculptor’s death. And she cooperated with the Saint-Gaudens’ Memorial Committee on the exhibition of 154 works that opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in March 1908, and you can see on the right, or sorry, the left, some of the very distinguished names of the people who served on the, this committee. While these endeavors occupied her focus for several years, the exhibition actually traveled to five venues through 1910. Her sustained attention was on the casting and placement of a select group of Saint-Gaudens’ small bronzes and also the founding of the Saint-Gaudens Memorial. 1:16:44
Augusta and Homer, and Augustus Saint-Gaudens, “Gus and Gussie”, met in Rome in 1873, while both were studying art. The couple married in June 1877, after Saint-Gaudens had secured his first major commission for the Farragut monument. Augusta was was from old Boston stock, and took charge of educating her lower-middle class husband in social rituals so critical to courting clients and elevating his professional standings. She was also, anyone who has spent any time working on her, knows that she was a stern ruler of the roost, who took her domestic responsibility seriously. As is well-known, the Saint-Gaudens marriage endured many strains over the years, but despite all these peccadillos, especially his relationship over many years with Davida Clark, Saint-Gaudens relied on his wife, and indeed, respected her greatly. As his career As his career became successful and later as he fought cancer, she increasingly managed aspects of his business with scrutiny to detail, especially the production of his small bronzes. Her energies were channeled for the greater good of the Saint-Gaudens studio enterprise, which hummed along even as the sculptor himself became too ill to work. Granted, she was not popular, she was stern and intractable, and she, throughout the years she was married to Saint-Gaudens, became gradually more and more deaf, and then as a result, she was also quite ill-tempered and there are a lot of comments about her behind her back in the writings that exist today. Saint-Gaudens first began casting small bronzes commercially in the early 1890s. His French artist friend, Paul Bion, wrote to the sculptor of his material ambitions in 1894. He wrote, “what are you singing to me about your Diana and your Puritan? That they’re going to line your pockets with a Niagara of gold?” While the reductions were intended to provide a steady source of income for Saint-Gaudens between the less frequent payouts for the monuments, he aspired, at least at first, to really exploit, well that’s not the right words, but really push the individual potential of these commercial bronzes the way he had lavished attention on his early bas-reliefs from the early 1870s and 1880s. At this time, he was working with two American foundries, [Lorm and Aubrey], and also Henry-Bonnard, for the early edition reductions on the left is a 31 inch Diana, which is privately owned, and on the right, Princeton University Art Museum’s superb 36 inch Stevenson, which was cast by Bonnard in 1890. Both of these models were eventually cast in three variants, the Stevenson in diameters of approximately 36, 18, and 12 inches, the latter two were produced commercially beginning in 1895 and interestingly were available in gilded silver and variant bronze patinas. For the Diana there was the 31 inch versions, I mentioned on the half-sphere, as well as the rarer 21 inch versions on a full orb. These were, there were probably only three or four of these known today. They were cast by Gruet in Paris, under the watchful eye of Paul Billon, who was serving as Saint-Gaudens’ agent before he moved there. But once Saint-Gaudens moved to Paris in 1897, this fueled his small bronze statuette business as Mrs. Saint-Gaudens put it to their attorney, “Saint-Gaudens seems to be going to set up as a statuette maker”. Writing to his client, Jacob Shift, in 1899, the sculptor observed, “they make reductions here in Paris in a marvellous way for models of any size and such reductions make charming little works of art.” There he produced the third variant of Diana, the one seen here with a tripod base with the griffon’s rosettes and scroll work. This 21 inch figure was first cast in 1899, and his move abroad spawned two more reductions which he had been planning for several years, but hadn’t gotten around to until he got to Paris. First, “The Puritan”, which was sold first in the late 1898, and the 40 inch reductions of “Amor Caritas” were produced beginning in 1899. Although, there’s a lot to learn about Saint-Gaudens and his foundries, but we can make a few generalizations. He tended to settle in with the same foundry for specific edition, or editions of specific models. He also routinely prohibited foundry marks from the visible surfaces of his small works, so that can become kind of a head-banging exercise to try to figure out which foundry cast which piece, whether it was lifetime or posthumous, French or American, and indeed if because a lot of his papers were lost in the studio fire of 1904, it’s very difficult to determine the exact number of casts in each edition. A rough count today of “The Puritan” suggest there may be about 30 located casts, 20 of “Amor Caritas”, and many more of the circular Stevensons. These he often made compositional changes to in the plaster models for moving sections and changing the arrangement of the drapery, the way the bed was, well, it’s not on the screen, but the way the bed was… the way the bed was finished, and he also later created two different variants of the rectangular Stevenson, one known as the Edinburgh Stevenson, after the monument in Saint Giles, which was available after 1902, and of the Diana’s the third tripod version was the most replicated. By, in 1901, out of legal necessity, Saint-Gaudens did eventually begin placing copyright marks on his bronzes, designing an ornamental tablet with scrollwork for some. On the right is one on, that he placed on “The Puritan” cast, or a small round medallion as you find on the lower right of the Stevensons, and then on some of the “Amor Caritas” casts. He marketed in America, he marketed his work at Tiffany and Co. in New York and [Dahlen Richards] in Boston, each of which, beginning in 1899, had exclusive rights to market his works in their respective cities, which, of course, angered a lot of other dealers, but so be it. The bronzes were sold by both firms at a 20% commission and priced from about $85 for a 12 inch Stevenson to 350 for “The Puritan”. The prices were raised in 1903 so that the Stevenson then cost $100, and the Puritan $500, and they remained at this level until Saint-Gaudens died in 1907. Regular reports from the companies to the Saint-Gaudens indicate that the sales were steady and that the Puritan was the perennial favorite, and indeed, maintaining a consistent supply of stock in the showrooms was a challenge. In 1901, Tiffany wrote, “we could probably have sold more had we had more in stock. We should advise keeping at least one with us all the time in order to ensure any sale that is possible.” After Saint-Gaudens returned to the US in 1900, he relied on his technician and mold-maker, [Gaiten Artisen], to oversee his affairs in Paris. Artisan, who worked for Saint-Gaudens for more than 20 years, was also a Frenchman and that’s was well suited in his role for his fluent French as well as his intimate knowledge of the casting and molding processes. Although Artisan was a reliable delegate, remaining in Paris until late 1902 when he was, I guess in UCM speak, the courier for the Sherman monument when it was shipped back to New York, Saint-Gaudens found it difficult to manage these aspects of his casting business from overseas. He complained to Artisan about issues of quality, and he actually often forgot which plaster casts were at which foundry. His biggest bête noire, however, was the poor packing of his sculptures, that resulted in damage across, during overseas transit. For instance, in 1901, he received a letter from Tiffany & Co. reporting, “We have received the statuette, ‘The Puritan’. Nearly every joint was strained and loose so that we were compelled to have them all re-set.” Dianas arrived with bows and arrows snapped, and the patinas on at least one of the Puritans which arrived was rubbed down to the bright metal surface. This recurring damage not only necessitated spending money on repairs, but also slowed the flow of available stock. As Saint-Gaudens commented to Artisan “you will see that a great deal of trouble and money must be expended on this before they can be placed on sale here.” In 1901, on at least 2 occasions, Saint-Gaudens asked Artisan to ship most of his commercial models back to America. As he said, “the estimates of casting in bronze here or in Paris make it so that I prefer to have them done here.” Although it was actually marginally cheaper to cast in Paris, Saint-Gaudens had determined between the headaches of packing and shipping and damage and quality control that he could cast his work with much less trouble in New York, and then keep a watchful eye on the process from Windsor, Vermont, where he occasionally had cast bronze sent up for quality control inspection and even patination. In the years before his death, he contracted primarily with the Aubrey brothers, Charles and Earnest, who, by then, were working for John Williams Foundry, and then later, in 1905, they formed their own foundry, The Aubrey Brothers. He also worked with the newer lost wax foundry, Roman Bronze Works, and actually continued to cast some of his bronzes in Paris, but with the quality of bronze-casting in America now up to a very high level, there, it was really in America from 1900 on where most of his works, large and small, were cast. After Saint-Gaudens was diagnosed with cancer in 1900, Augusta Saint-Gaudens began to take on greater responsibility for the decisions regarding the production of his small bronzes. She, too, corresponded with Artisan in Paris, and her role increased further once the models returned to America in 1901. By 1904, she essentially ran that arm of the Saint-Gaudens enterprise, in consultation with her husband and the studio assistants. Around 1905, Francis Grimes wrote that, “Mrs. Saint-Gaudens now has charge of all the small bronzes.” And noted that she was even advising the assistants on how they were colored. As a result, she was well-poised to manage the sculptor’s affairs after his death, and indeed his will specifically allowed her to reproduce works he had copyrighted. Augusta Saint-Gaudens was actually one of a number of American sculptor’s widows, who in the early 20th century, allowed her husband’s works to be cast, so I don’t want to just sort of look at her in a vacuum. This practice, known as “estate casting”, in the best possible scenario, the bronzes are cast from the original plaster models, and by the deceased sculptor’s preferred foundries, and this is the best of all possible worlds, their favorite workman. To cite several examples, Olin Warner’s widow, Sylvia, cooperated with representatives from the National Sculpture Society after his death in 1896, agreeing to cast a group of bronzes as a gift to the Metropolitan Museum, and on the left is his portrait of the painter J. Alden Weir. Mrs. John Quincy Adams-Ward, whose husband had died in 1910, had protracted negotiations with the Met about the acquisition of several small bronzes, now she thought that it would be a great idea for the Met to acquire one example of every one of her husband’s works, but, fortunately, the Met was sensible and purchased three reductions after public monuments, and on the right is the Henry Ward Beecher, from the Beecher monument unveiled in Brooklyn in 1891. Perhaps best known is Eva Remington’s casting of her husband’s work after his death in 1909. This was carried out in concert with Riccardo Bertelli at Roman Bronze Works. It may be the best documented campaign, but but it was probably the most fraught with issues of quality control, midnight casting, and underhanded business dealings, and I’m showing you on the left “The Savage” from the Met’s collection, cast #10, recorded in the Roman Bronze Works’ ledgers in 1916. Some widows who were artists themselves took it a step further. Susanne Bartlett was an accomplished [vunder] in her own right, and in the late 1920s, she cast many of Paul Wayland Bartlett’s models in his Paris studio-slash-foundry, after his death in 1925. Now, these bronzes are often marked “SB” with a copyright mark, and many were placed in American museums by the artist’s step-daughter, and the torso that I’m showing you is SAAM’s collection. Now, to be sure that the impulse for much of this activity was financial, and obviously that’s a fair statement. While managing a late husband’s artistic and business affairs signal the measure of independence, it also was almost always driven by economic necessity. This was certainly the case for Augusta Saint-Gaudens, because at the time of Saint-Gaudens’ death, he was not a wealthy man. In fact, as monuments were brought to completion after his death there were some 8 monuments that weren’t done, the money that they received was immediately paid off to creditors so that the small bronzes really represented a critical source of income for her. She knew her husband’s work intimately and it served her well as she went forward in deciding which models to reproduce, and she eventually expanded the roster of commercial bronzes to an inventory reaching 25. In addition to producing the four edition Lifetime models, she selected other sculptures with market potential. Here, posthumous casts of, on the left, the French painter Jules Bastien-Lepage, and on the right, her son, Homer Saint-Gaudens. These are in the Met and the Carnegie, respectfully. She also produced new reductions based on familiar monuments. On the right is a 9 and a half version of the head of Diana, copyrighted in 1908, and this is at the Saint-Gaudens site, and on the left, a bust of Lincoln from the standing Lincoln, this in the Burkland Museum. Her decision-making process was highly deliberate. She was not, I don’t think we could qualify her as a risk-taker, and it took her almost 2 years after her husband’s death to really get this small bronze business up and running steadily, because she spent a lot of time studying the copyright history of these pieces, and comparison shopping with American foundries. She surrounded herself with excellent advisers in this enterprise. [Giatan Artisan] continued to work with her through the 1910s, even after he was employed full time by Gertrude Vanderbilt-Whitney, around 1912. There are letters, Mrs. Saint-Gaudens pleading to Mrs. Whitney to lend her Artisan to come back and cast plasters from existing models in the studio or complete special projects. His input was essential for he knew Saint-Gaudens’ technical preferences intimately as Mrs. Saint-Gaudens wrote to him, “You are the one person who can do it as it should be done for a fitting memorial to Mr. Saint-Gaudens.” Sculptors Herbert Adams, who’s on the left, he’s a Cornish Colony artist, and James Earle Fraser, a former studio assistant, served as New York liaisons, storing plaster models in their studios, visiting plaster makers and bronze foundries, and advising on issues of pricing, technique and quality, and I apologize for the slide on the right, but it’s Fraser in his studio, and it’s right, it’s wonderful because there’s a photograph of the Shaw memorial. Now, where I took the photo, it sort of fell apart because it was under plexi, but it’s an underscorn etching of Saint-Gaudens, and then here is the head of Victory that Fraser must have received from Saint-Gaudens as a gift, and it says a lot about the relationship between the two men. Mrs. Saint-Gaudens leaned heavily on them once observing to Fraser she was, “making you a good deal of trouble, but you have shown such kindly interests that I believe you would be willing to take it on for me and the memory of Mr. Saint-Gaudens.” I think you can see her theme. Her long-time attorney, Charles Brewster, managed the contract in copyright issues, sorting out which works were cast during Saint-, or sorry, copyrighted during his lifetime proved particularly nettlesome. He played it pretty fast and loose with the copyrights, but subsequently copyright law required that the inscription be marked clearly on the sculpture with the date of copyright to sustain cases against infringements. Mrs. Saint-Gaudens was scrupulous about applying copyright marks to the small bronzes, using Saint-Gaudens’ designs for those copyrighted during his lifetime as you see on the top of the screen, and her own mark for the posthumous ones that she registered. This is the head of Diana from the site that I showed you earlier. Unlike Saint-Gaudens, who cast with many, many different foundries, Mrs. Saint-Gaudens worked consistently with just two: Tiffany Studios and Gorham Manufacturing Company, though she also patronized Roman Bronze Works and Kunst Foundry. Focusing on Tiffany and Gorham was particularly shrewd for each foundry then was able to channel bronzes into their respective New York showrooms. They even sent bronzes to each other for inventory as necessary. She also sold these small bronzes through [Dahlen Richards] in Boston and directly from the Cornish Studio, almost like a mail-order business. Not surprisingly, the price of the bronzes continued to rise so that by 1917, the selling price of the Puritan was $700, double what it had been in 1901, and the tripod-base Diana went from 175, to $275. The Standing Lincoln, and the Victory, which were models she produced, were ambitiously priced at $1500 and $3000 a piece. Mrs. Saint-Gaudens’ decision to bring her primary casting business to Tiffany was probably based on the fact that when the Aubrey Brothers, which I mentioned earlier, went out of business in 1909, the two men, who knew Saint-Gaudens’ work well, then went to work for Tiffany Studios. At that point, she requested that the models be transferred from Aubrey’s former quarters to the Tiffany Studios in Corona, Queens, where the bronze furnaces were. These included, not only 17 plasters, but bronze patterns for three variant Stevensons, two Dianas, and the Puritan, confirming that these frequently reproduced works were cast from more durable bronze master models. Mrs. Saint-Gaudens chose Gorham based on its excellent track record with casting the Shaw memorial and several other monuments. During the 1910s, she played one foundry off the other, soliciting estimates, comparing prices and profit margins, and moving plasters back and forth. Here, for instance, this is in 1917, she had also, there were so many lists of hers in the Saint-Gaudens papers, here’s one, the Tiffany price, the Gorham price, the former price, the profit, and the thirty, apparently Tiffany raised its commission from 20 to 30%, at that point, so she was having a moment of reflection about what direction she was taking with this casting business, and indeed Tiffany Studio wrote her that the increase was necessary, owing to the ever-rising market conditions of material and labor. Gorham cast fewer models than Tiffany Studios, and I’m sorry, this is lousy, it’s off the microfilm at the Archives of American Art, but I have to tell you, Gorham is, that’s, like the place that needs to be unlocked about bronze casting. Down here, you can see, in the Q-serial ledgers, the Stevenson QQS and QQT, 12 and 18 diameters, well, you have to believe me, it says Augusta Homer Saint-Gaudens over there. They cast fewer models than Tiffany, in addition to the Stevensons, there were also “The Head of Victory” in 1914 and 1917, and then two of the greatest posthumous statuettes, “The Standing Lincoln” and “The Victory”. The Standing Lincoln, which we see here, in various guises, that reduction was based on the monument unveiled in Chicago in 1887. Two plasters had been taken from the bronze original by the New York plaster-caster John Walthausen, in 1907, one was shown in the 1908 memorial exhibition here, this one traveled on to the, on the five venue memorial tour, and thus was not in very good shape to be cast from, and there was another one in Walthausen’s studio that Mrs. Saint-Gaudens dispatched Artisan to go examine, and buy for $100 to use to make the reduction. So, from the 11 and a half foot statue, he pointed down the piece to 39 and a half inches, retaining the chair of state, which is so critical to the narrative of the sculpture. Mrs. Saint-Gaudens deemed the reduction unusually successful. She was not prone to compliment, so that was good. Bronzes were produced from 1910 on, with her copyright on the rear of the plinth base, and I think there are about a dozen accounted for Victory, drawn from the Sherman monument, was the model that Saint-Gaudens hand considered reducing for replication during his lifetime. It’s gestation was longer than the Lincoln, as it was a much more complex and expensive piece to produce. Mrs. Saint-Gaudens even saw assurance of patronage before it proceeded. In early 1907, she solicited the advice of Charles Deering of Chicago, who was the chairman of International Harvester Company, and an avid art collector, who had gotten to know Saint-Gaudens through John Singer Sargent. Mrs. Saint-Gaudens inquired of Deering, “do you think that your desire and your pocketbooks would include a copy of it in your collection, and if so, what size to you would seem a good one?” Deering responded, “of course I want the Lady Victory.” In 1911, Mrs. Saint-Gaudens reached an agreement with Artisan to reduce the Victory to 3 feet, 6 inches. At her insistence, the model was then approved by James Earle Fraser and Herbert Adams. Well, you really tell, but it does say copyright there by Mrs. Saint-Gaudens. These casts went into reduction at Gorham in 1912, this is a cast in the Met’s collection, and incidentally, Mr. Deering did eventually buy a Victory in 1914, one of 12 Saint-Gaudens small bronzes that he purchased, making him, I’m sure, one of the largest collectors of Saint-Gaudens’ works at that time. One of the other tracts that Mrs. Saint-Gaudens followed to enshrine her husband’s memory, was to place his sculptures in museum collections. Actually, there were very few that were acquired during his lifetime, the MFA in Boston in 1880, the Met acquired a couple of minor works in the 1890s, and several right before he died, but it was really quite a void. She solicited museums, especially those where his memorial exhibition had traveled to, and carried on detailed correspondence, usually over months, if not years, with directors, trustees and curators. As a result, the Carnegie Museum of Art acquired five pieces, the John Herron Art Institute, which is now the Indianapolis Museum of Art, four including one, a large Stevenson by popular vote, I like that, and then the Detroit Institute of Art purchased three. While museums were expected to pay nearly full prices, she wasn’t cutting anyone slack, she did occasionally make a gift along with the purchase. For instance, Detroit, which had hosted a Saint-Gaudens show in 1915, received a cast of the bas-relief of Homer Saint-Gaudens. In 1923, after 18 months negotiations, the Brooklyn Museum completed the largest single purchase from Mrs. Saint-Gaudens, 7 works for $15,000, and they’re seen here on the left as they were installed shortly after their acquisition, below a lunette, I think appropriately, by Giovanni della Robbia. These included edition bronzes like the 31 inch gilded Diana, and that’s a Homer Saint-Gaudens, that’s, well, Bastien-Lepage and Homer Saint-Gaudens there. But there were also less common pieces such as the variant head from the Adams memorial, and unique casts of sketches from the first, here, the first, I know, it just looks like a blob, and the final versions of the floating angel in the Shaw memorial. The Brooklyn Museum took special care to choose these pieces so that they didn’t overlap with ones in the Met’s collection, with the sole exception of the Bastian-Lepage. Now, as the Met learned, through the planning of the Saint-Gaudens exhibition and protracted arrangements for the group of small bronzes, Mrs. Saint-Gaudens was a shrewd and seasoned negotiator. Conversations between the two parties began early in 1908, through the auspices of the Saint-Gaudens Memorial Committee, when the museum inquired as to the cost and availability of ten bronzes. The museum’s attorney acknowledged in 1910, that “At the outset, I thought I had the sympathy and cooperation of the Saint-Gaudens family, but later I struck a frost. The prices asked by the estate were very high.” Negotiations dragged, including, and I’ll just tantalize you, she sued the museum for some other reason, and it was not until 1912 that the museum completed the purchase of four cast, posthumously cast bronzes. Here, on the left, is the head from the Farragut monument, and on the right, the bust of General Sherman, which served as inspiration for the head in the Sherman monument. As the Met’s representatives saw, they were able to extract out of Mrs. Saint-Gaudens just one gift, that of Samuel Grey Ward. In fact, Daniel Chester French, who was a museum trustee, was jaded enough in 1910, when she offered to sell him the Lincoln statuette and bust, quipped, “I supposed it is not in the range of possibility that Mrs. Saint-Gaudens expected to present these bronzes to the Museum. I should like to have both of these bronzes, but it is probable we should have to pay a pretty large sum for them.” Neither, sadly enough, were ever acquired. Again, in 1914, she approached the museum about the possibility of acquiring Victory. A memo from the trustee’s meeting recorded, “Mrs. Saint-Gaudens calls attention to the opportunity to purchase a Standing Lincoln and the Victory from the Sherman group.” The Met did actually buy the Victory in 1917 through the Gorham showroom, but French had asked Mrs. Saint-Gaudens if she would make a reduction in his price, but, in her price, but she did not, and instead that Gorham, Gorham took the loss, lowering the price from the going rate of $3000, to $2700, taking only a 10% profit. In 1918, the Met acquired a full-size cast of “Amor Caritas” for $10,000, a price she agreed to after refusing $12,000 for bronze casts of both “Amor Caritas” and the Adams memorial. So, she had not as great a relationship with the Met as she did with Brooklyn Museum. By the late 1910s, Augusta Saint-Gaudens was able to live comfortably off the income generated from the sale of the posthumous bronzes, as measured by her purchase of a property in Coconut Grove, Florida, and a chauffeur-driven Black Pierce Arrow. Good for her. I have a lot of respect for what she did, I have to say. Her casting efforts slowed by the early 1920s as her health declined. After she died in Cornish in 1926, one obituary noted, “It is given to very few women to do what Augusta Saint-Gaudens did”. And in so doing, I would say she achieved a remarkable degree of success. Her legacy may be measured in terms of the small bronzes she produced, sold, and placed in museums, but we must also solude her for the permanent memorial she created to Saint-Gaudens in Cornish, ensuring almost every example of his sculpture was replicated in bronze or existed in plaster. And on the left is the studio as it looked in 1913, this is in the autochrome, and on the right, with many plaster models created for the Met’s exhibition in 1908, this is how it looked after she died in 1926. This collection, along with the house, studios, and gardens, was entrusted to the Saint-Gaudens Memorial in 1919, the core of what we now know as the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site. It’s perhaps not surprising that some of the bronze models that she produced, notably the Standing Lincoln and the Victory, are today among Saint-Gaudens’ most commercially desirable works. Homage to the memory of a man that made monuments that are such fitting exponents to the Gilded Age of America. Thank you. [Applause] Okay. Our next speaker is Shelley Sturman, who was head of the Objects Conservation Department at the National Gallery of Art, here in Washington. Ms. Sturman hold an advanced degree in conservation from the University of Delaware, and is actively involved in a number of conservation professional groups, as well as teaching in her spare time in the George Washington University Museum Studies program. Today she will tell us of her work overseeing the conservation of a plaster version of the Shaw memorial, now on long-term loan to the National Gallery of Art, from the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site. Please welcome Shelley Sturman. [Applause] Thank you, George. I should say the alternate title for this talk is “Deconstructing the Shaw Memorial”, which is what we did ten years ago and at that time it was another hundredth anniversary in the–for Saint-Gaudens, and that was the 100th anniversary from the original dedication of the bronze Shaw memorial in Boston, facing the State House, and it had been unveiled Memorial Day, May 31st, 1897, so to commemorate that time, the National Gallery of Art collaborated with the National Parks Service for the long-range preservation of the plaster version that you’ve just heard was in Cornish, New Hampshire. I’ll just give a very brief history of the Shaw Memorial, and how it came to be made and Saint-Gaudens participation in it, for those of you who might not be as familiar with it as some of the others here. On 18th of July, 1863, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw was killed while leading the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in a bloody assault on Fort Wagner near Charleston, South Carolina. You probably know that about half of the regiment fell, died there, including Shaw, and the regiment was badly defeated, but that battle proved to be a turning point in the war, and it, of course, was an event of powerful significance, because the Massachusetts 54th was one first Civil War units comprised of African-Americans. Most people are probably familiar with the story through the movie, “Glory”, what you might not know is how the movie got its title, and that was from the words that the governor of Massachusetts used when he presented the flag to the 54th, or the flag for the 54th to Colonel Shaw. He said, and I don’t have the right Boston accent, “I know not, Mr. Commander, where in all human history to any given thousand men in arms there has committed a work at once so proud, so precious, so full of hope and glory, as the work committed to you.” So we know it was a very significant group, but after the war, and the fall of the Shaw and Fort Wagner, it took nearly 34 years of public fundraising, public concern and outcry, to actually have the memorial made by Saint-Gaudens, and it took him nearly over a decade to create the memorial. The result, as we see here on the screen, is, I think we can all agree, the masterpiece of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ career, and it is certainly considered one of the greatest works of American sculpture of the 19th century. I think I’m allowed to say that. The format for the memorial actually evolved following the wishes of Shaw’s family. They felt that a standard equestrian was probably too much to honor such a young man who really only had a couple of days of combat, and it would have been too pretentious. As a result, there was this fusion, this marriage of a traditional equestrian monument with relief sculpture. I think it was Louis Marcus who actually called the Shaw memorial a history painting in bronze, so that’s what we have. Saint-Gaudens accepted the commission in 1884, and we just learned that was the, here, that the Morgan monument burned, so that probably was a very pivotal thing for Saint-Gaudens in that year. As traditionally, he first modeled in clay, he made several sketch models, the design changed, in fact, the horse used to go in one direction, and he changed it into going the other direction. After the clay, full-size pieces were made, and it was molded and cast in plaster. It was cast in sections. 21 major sections and more than 30 smaller ones, things like the rifles, so that the piece could be dismantled and reassembled for various exhibitions. Each time the piece was moved, it required installing the metal and wood supports in the back, filling and finishing all the section joints, and then redoing the surface to unify it so that it looked presentable. The first version of the Shaw was completed August, 3rd, 1896. Apparently, the Angel of Peace and Death gave Saint-Gaudens particular difficulty, and again I think we’ve heard that his earlier angels might have been criticized, so he continued to work on the angel and changed it while he was waiting for the bronze founders to arrive at the studio, then the following year, between March and May in 1897, the Shaw Memorial was cast into bronze, and this was one of the times that the Gorham Manufacturing Company in New York was used. It was $7,000 to cast that piece in bronze, so we know what that would cost today, and after the bronze was unveiled in Boston at the end of May, Saint-Gaudens took a plaster version to Paris, and it was exhibited in 1898 in Paris, and again in 1900 at the Exposition Universelle, and he earned the grand prize there, so that was very fitting. But he continued to make changes to the piece and his fourth and final version in plaster was exhibited at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, in 1901. Following that exhibition, the piece was purchased by the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, which subsequently became known as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and it was on view there until 1919. Unfortunately, the victim of changing taste, it was covered by a wall. So, it was no longer visible to people. In 1949, the Shaw memorial was given to the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site at Cornish, New Hampshire. From 1959, Saint-Gaudens’ plaster version of the Shaw Memorial was displayed in this 3-sided building, which, as you can see, was open to visitors as well as to the elements, and I have to say, the National Park Service really maintained the plaster, they ongoing conservation, but 40 years of exposure to harsh winters and spring thaws, and rain that you get up there in New Hampshire, humid summers, and all kinds of atmospheric pollutants, left the sculpture in need of more conservation than the annual maintenance could provide. The sculpture had been restored many times, as I had said, but unfortunately, it no longer looked the way Saint-Gaudens had originally intended it, and the first thing we had to do was a full assessment of the condition of the piece. At this time, I’d like to say that the National Gallery contracted the work to Clifford Craine of Daedalus Art Conservation in Boston, and he had a crew of people working on it. There was a huge collaboration going on. We were also working with the collections conservation branch of the National Park Service, Richard Sullivan and Carol Warner, we had some analysis done at the Harvard University Museums, also up at the Museum of Fine Arts, the research department in Boston, and of course, many, many people at the National Gallery of Art in the Conservation Division as well as in the curatorial side. So after all of these examinations, what we discovered that were there were many cracks throughout the surface of the plaster. Some sections were misaligned, there were chips all along the edges, and the decorative surface, which consisted of paint, brass leafs, synthetic resins, waxes, all kinds of things that over the years had been put on it in order to protect it or unify the surface, were all flaking and there were various different layers of paint, and so invisible, and it certainly was no longer representative of Saint-Gaudens’ handling of the piece and his delicately toned golden layers and brass leaf that he had worked so hard to achieve on the plaster when he had exhibited it. Also, throughout this initial examination time, where we were trying to get a handle on what did the piece look like, how had Saint-Gaudens wanted it, was it the shiny gold of some of the later works, or was it plaster patinated to look like bronze, or somewhere in between, and we did find a letter that was written, or a comment written by William Coffin, who was the artistic director of American Art for the Exposition in Paris, that he wrote in 1900. “The Shaw had been colored, it was all set up, and it was finished, but Saint-Gaudens told me that it was too dark, and he was having it all done over with a tint and rubbed down to make it lighter”. So we were actually very pleased to find this so that we knew that Saint-Gaudens was intimately involved with how the piece looked, he hadn’t turned it over to other people to fill in the cracks and then paint it, but he was very concerned with how it looked, and this fact of making it look lighter, told us that he really didn’t want it to have a dark look of patinated bronze. And in addition to the problems on the front, there were also issues with the iron armature that actually provided the structural support. They were rusting and deteriorating. This was the only view we could get while it was in the, in that 3-sided structure, so we had to kind of get on the side and look down, and that’s as much of the back of it that we could see at that point. Now, before we could treat the plaster, we had to have it x-rayed so that we could identify the locations of the joints so that the piece could be taken apart the way when Saint-Gaudens was alive, they knew where the sections were and how to take it apart. We also had to be very careful, which is another reason why we wanted the x-rays, to make sure that if there had any heavy armature put across the joints, we would have to be prepared to take those apart. The plaster joints were exposed on the, or identified through the radiography, and we were able to slowly uncover all of those joints, remember I said it was made in 21 major sections, so all of those joints had to be revealed. And that’s a, were done by hand, to follow along the original plaster joints. It took about a six-week period to disassemble the entire memorial following the original join lines that was done piece by piece, side to side, top to bottom. It’s the people working to make that happen. And you have to realize that the concrete wall, or the cinder block wall had to be disassembled at the same time, so you’d have to work from the front and work from the back, because the memorial was actually attached to the back of the stone, the concrete block. The upper two courses, which are seven of the twenty-one sections were the first ones to be removed. This remarkable and exciting to watch this take place, and there are people who were there and heard from Henry, and there’s also John Dryfhout here from the site, and it was pretty remarkable to watch this. Each segment was padded with foam blankets, it was secured with straps, and then rigged for lowering into crates. It’s kind of walk you through this process, the same way in that each section had to be treated just as carefully and lovingly. Then, after the upper courses were removed, the six vertical sections of the marching soldiers could be disassembled. The drummers on the far right were the first group of soldiers to be removed, and then the next row of soldiers and so on. And when those rows of soldiers were removed, then the work on Shaw and his horse could take place. And that was quite a feat. That horse is almost 100% in the round. Then, after removing the Shaw and his horse, the soldiers marching behind him became fully visible for the first time in any of our lifetimes, and what was really remarkable was to see that Saint-Gaudens had modeled each soldier individually. Even though they were hidden from view, you couldn’t see this course of soldiers because they were immediately behind the horse, and it kind of reminds me of when I studied about the “Charioteer at Delphi”, the toes of the charioteer are perfectly modeled and cast in bronze, even though no one ever sees it, because they are inside the chariot, but it’s the same care and love for your work, whether or not it can be seen and you know that it’s been done, and many of you probably know that while he was modeling, doing the sketch models for the Shaw memorial, Saint-Gaudens made over 50 individual heads of black males of different ages and of different facial features in his studio. 23 of those 40 were actually identified now in the Shaw memorial. Some of those small plaster heads are also on exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. There’s a story that people were afraid, black males were afraid to be invited into the studio, because when they walk by and they can see those heads on the wall, they thought that people were hanging there, or had been killed, so that’s how lifelike they are. After disassembly, the work continued on the front and the back of the plaster, all at the same time, cause we had to see what was going on from both sides. You can see here on, on the reverse, just how Saint-Gaudens made his armature, and you can see the interlocking iron bars there, of how he made it, the iron were put, the iron bars were put to stabilize the plaster, and they were actually wrapped with bits of burlap, another interesting find that we had. And then, truly a surprise discovery during the disassembly, was this tiny fragment of a French newspaper dated January 8, 1896. It’s the kind of thing you dream about when you are disassembling things. The individual sections of the monument were shipped to Boston, and that’s where Cliff Craine’s Studio is. So, we took tiny samples of the surface to analyze them and figure out what was, had been incorporated by Saint-Gaudens, and to be able to separate the different layers of the restoration layer from the originals, so trying to figure out what was going on. What you see here is just again what the surface looked like and this is microscope cross-section of the microscope, and we did discover there were over 25 layers of paint, gold, different kinds of leaf, brass leaf, gold leaf, clear-coatings, waxes, and it was quite difficult trying to figure it all out. We used a huge variety of analytical techniques, scanning electron microscopy, x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, might have heard of that FTIR, different kinds of light reflected, ultraviolet, polarized light microscopy, and these are just two different views of the different cross sections. You have the dark field illumination and then with the cross-polars, with the cross polars, and you can see all the many different layers of leaf and then where there would be waxy layers and then the more recent restoration layers. The conservation work in Boston included removing the non-historic coatings, some of the old fills, there was lots of restoration material on there, and then, the painstaking work of filling the losses in the plaster texturing with plaster so that it would actually match the original portions, stabilizing it so putting consolidants and stabilizers to all of the flaking areas with synthetic resins. We also had to reinforce the rusted armatures, because they had to continue to do the initial support for the piece. And then a very critical portion of the conservation was to decide what this final surface should look like, and a variety of test patches were made to try and see, do we go more golden, do we go more bronzey, trying to think of the point that we made these patches, we hadn’t even found that quote yet from Coffin, so rubbing it down to look lighter was quite important group decision among all of the players involved, what the final surface should look like, because we wanted, obviously, to be true to what Saint-Gaudens’ vision had been for the piece. So the first step was applying this kind of vivid ochre color as a kind of base coat and that was all done up in Boston, and then the pieces were shipped individually to Washington for installation in the National Gallery where we had designed this stainless steel armature and cut into the terracotta of the walls so that the piece would be completely supported. And just some details of what that installation looks like. And you know what deadlines are like to install a piece of this monumental size. We were under the gun. Working, I was there, until midnight like the night before it opened at least, and then the photographer had to come in after that. So the joins between the sections, again, had to be filled and toned with all kinds of paints and glazes, and these were based on those test patches. And I have to say, the conservation treatment took about a year, and the Shaw memorial was installed in the American galleries in the West Building in the National Gallery, and unfortunately, we have major work on the environmental systems going on right now, so the Shaw memorial is not visible at the moment, but the small heads are. And that, I think that this is the way the piece looks when you are able to see it at the National Gallery. Full access, it’s probably not for another 6 to 9 months. It’s supposed to be about a year, and it’s been, I think, part of that time is taken on, but those of you who have undergone renovation, it might take longer than that, but if there’s a listserv that I can hand you an announcement, that “come view the Shaw memorial”, I’d be happy to send you notice. I just will close with saying that there really is nothing quite like the Shaw memorial. Saint-Gaudens created a totally new and original type of public monument that united his, the commander with his troops, there were all kinds of questions about the white commander and the African-American troops, all of that was taken care of, and this installation at the National Gallery marks the 9th time that the sculpture was dismantled and reassembled, and now painstakingly conserved, and as I said, it’s really installed into the fabric of the museum. We hope that it has finally found a permanent home. We know it’s on long-term loan from the Park Service, so here’s my little plea once again that it doesn’t have to take that difficult trip again, but this, here’s your last little view if you’re interested. This is what it looks like right now. You have this window and door, but we do have climate control in there, and we can measure the temperature and keep an eye on it at all times. Now, it is 3:43, I have about an 8 minute film, if we have time. We’ll do it. Okay, this is, we had a program with Alan Alda and Scientific American Frontiers, they got very excited about the fact that all the science and all the tests that I rattled through really quickly, were being performed in order conserve the piece, so let’s go. Do I need to turn this up? [Audio from the film] –test of time, but his masterwork hasn’t done so well. A few years ago, it was in danger of collapsing all together, before funds were raised to restore it. But this bronze version of the Shaw memorial wasn’t the only one that Saint-Gaudens made. He also created a version for himself, made of plaster. The last 100 years haven’t been kind to Saint-Gaudens’ personal copy of the Shaw, but like the bronze, it too is to be returned to glory. Craine: I think it’s a great work of art, because of its content, because of sort of the power of the conception, and what it means historically. It’s also a great work of art because of the artistic concept. A very deep relief, very freely modeled. It’s just a incredibly grand conception, and carried out with a tremendous amount of, I think love and attention to detail. Narrator: That detail, here on the plaster Shaw, has been obscured by layer after layer of paint acquired during an extraordinary century of wandering. The sculpture has been to Paris and back, we see both accolades and neglect during 40 years in Buffalo, and for the last 50 years, has been in care of the National Park Service at the artist’s home in New Hampshire. It’s now Cliff Craine’s job to restore the plaster Shaw Saint-Gaudens himself left it in. Sturman: Hey Cliff. Narrator: And it’s Shelly Sterman’s job to find out what that was. To rediscover Saint-Gaudens’ vision. Sturman: This must be the patches. Craine: These are the patches, well some of them, there’s a couple that aren’t done yet, but if you look at the remnants of leaf that are left on the surface… Narrator: The patches are examples of how Saint-Gaudens may have treated the surface. Cliff has already cleaned off most of the century’s worth of paint, but before he did, Shelly had samples taken from various places, in an attempt to discover the finish Saint-Gaudens himself had applied. [Voices talking over each other] Craine: And these are under a fill. Alda: How did science figure in the restoration here, what were all the scientific things you had to do here? Sturman: We got heavily involved with science in terms of trying to figure out how the piece had been treated and restored over the last 100 years, and we were very, very excited to find that there were actually areas on the piece that had the entire history of restoration. We found 25 layers of paint, and gold leaf, and brass leaf, and new plaster. Alda: 25 layers. And that made up the history of restoration. Narrator: That history is now going under the microscope at a laboratory at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Michael Palmer: That is our first metal application.
Sturman: This little spot. Palmer: Right. And let me put the–
Sturman: So that’s below the yellow.
Palmer: Right, it is. Sturman: Okay. Narrator: Shelley and her colleague, Michael Palmer, are peering back though the 25 layers of restoration to find the very bottom layer, next to the plaster itself. Palmer: There, you start at the top and work our way down, the very lowest metal application that we find is right here. Narrator: The lowest layer in greenish paint with here and there, a metal flake above it, then a layer of darker toning. This is what Saint-Gaudens, himself, must have applied to the plaster before he proudly unveiled it at the grand Exposition Universelle in Paris, in the year 1900. There, it was admired by many, especially for its bronze-like finish. Here, under the microscope, are the last traces of that finish. Sturman: We have an idea of what kind of color green this would have looked like, light green, dark green? Palmer: It’s a very muted grey-green, quite light grey-green. Sturman: Which is a traditional color that sculptor would have put on a plaster, and this little bit of brass leaf would have been probably some highlighting, in fact, there’s a wonderful quote by the director of the Paris Exposition, saying that he watched at the very last minute, watched Saint-Gaudens directing his men to tone it and rub it down and make it lighter. Narrator: After his triumph in Paris, Saint-Gaudens had his Shaw taken apart again, and shipped back to the United States for another exhibition, this time in Buffalo, and it was some time after this that the Shaw underwent its first transformation. It’s visible in the cross section. A thick layer of yellow paint, topped by a thin layer of metal. To identify the metal, Michael Palmer turned from the light microscope, to an electron microscope. By zooming in on the metal layer, he can read its signature on the spectrum of x-rays it gives off. In most places, the metal is gold. In a few places, brass. Alda: Was it clear to you, from looking at the layers, when the, when this golden surface was put on there? Sturman: I, for the longest time, thought that any of the gilding had been after Saint-Gaudens’ lifetime, after he had died and a restorer had decided to gild a piece, or put brass leaf on the piece, in emulation, simulation, of the gilded layer, so it was an eye-opener when we were able to get all the way down to the original plaster and work back up to find that the, the gold layer was actually this mixture of gold and brass and seemed to date to Saint-Gaudens’ lifetime, and that’s now where we are. Are we going to try and re-create the turn of the century vision, or Saint-Gaudens’ final vision of the piece? Narrator: Cliff Craine began the painstaking work of reassembling the plaster Shaw, even as debate about how to finish it went on. Should it have the much-admired bronze look of its first appearance in Paris, or should it have the more golden look the sculptor gave it in Buffalo just before he died? Installer: Nice and easy, wait…Yeah, you could go back a little more, there you go, perfect. Narrator: In August 1997, the Shaw arrived at its new home, one befitting a great national monument, the National Portrait Gallery of Art. It’s now just ten days before it will be unveiled to the public, and the decision as to how it should look, has been made. Almost. Cliff Craine has painted the entire surface of the plaster a golden-yellow, now he and his team are adding a darker glaze to bring out more of the surface texture. But while the Shaw will look more like Saint-Gaudens’ second vision than his first, its exact finish is still not quite settled. Nicolai Cikovsky: Well, it’s complicated, and I, you know, I think it’s more, in frightful candor, I would say we don’t exactly know until we get there. We’re trying to adjust it to a setting in which it’s never been, not a familiar room that it’s never been in, but an interior space and in an art museum with natural lighting, with artificial lighting, to make it look metallic without making it seem to be an imitation of something it isn’t, so we’re doing layer by thin layer by very thin layer, but I hope we’ll know when we get there. Narrator: They got there after two more layers of glaze, a few days before the official unveiling. Alda: Aw, this is great to see it like this, through the doorway. Sturman: We’ve really worked to find this perfect space in the whole building in the West building , where you’ve got this five-gallery approach. Alda: It’s a great, it’s a great effect. Sturman: And then you come in and you’re overwhelmed by the piece. Alda: Yeah, and you really get the effect of those faces. It’s wonderful. Narrator: Saint-Gaudens modeled his soldiers’ faces after real people. And here, even more than in the bronze version, the dignity of these men marching into history, is vividly apparent. This, so far as scientific and historical research can tell, was how Saint-Gaudens wanted his Shaw memorial to be remembered. Sturman: But I think that Saint-Gaudens was such a gifted artist, that it comes through in all these pieces, all of the figures, the details… Narrator: Come visit us online. Scientific American Frontiers can be found on the world wide web, and the address on your screen. [Applause] If we can have the lights up. At this point, we’re gonna have a panel discussion among the speakers, that will be moderated by Erika Doss. And Erika Doss is chair of the Department of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Earlier, she taught Art History at the University of Colorado – Boulder, she earned her PhD in Art History and American Studies from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Doss is the author of “Benton, Pollock, and the politics of modernism: from regionalism to abstract expressionism” in 1991, “Spirit Poles and Flying Pigs: Public Art and Cultural Democracy in American Community” in 1995, and “Twentieth-century American Art” in 2002, as well as the editor of “Looking at Life Magazine” in 2001. She is currently writing a book entitled “Memorial Mania: Self, Nation, and the Culture of Commemoration in Contemporary America”. So I will ask the speakers to come up and sit at the table, and for Erika to come up, please. This will go on for, oh, maybe 35 minutes. No later than 4:30, at which point we’ll have a half-hour break before we see the premier of this film. Dr. Doss: Can you all hear me? Wow. I’m just going to stand here. Doss: Okay. I’d like to thank Cindy for organizing today’s symposium, and the wealth of information and insights that we’ve been provided with over the last few hours about an important American sculptor, and what I’d like to do is sort of lead discussion for a little bit, open it up, and then open it up to the audience for questions and comments. So very briefly, we’ve heard five papers, an overview of this museum’s collection of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Augustus Saint Gaudens’ European contacts, a discussion of his funerary production, a discussion of the posthumous marketing of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and finally, issues in conservation. So these are the five themes that have been presented, all of which, in my opinion, do a lot to tell us more about an artist who, as I learned today, is really the first American artist to be honored with a National Historic Site by the National Park Service, and this of course would be the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site at Cornish, New Hampshire. These papers help contextualize Saint-Gaudens, and my first questions that I sort of like to direct to our speakers is the issue of Saint-Gaudens and his popularity and his position in American popular culture in the 1880s, 1890s and into the early part of the 20th century, and this is what I mean. He’s a very canny, he’s a very astute sculptor. He’s a very smart producer. I wanna know, what do angels mean in the 1890s? I wanna know why he is picking certain themes, certain subjects. What really accounts for, in your opinion, his attraction to contemporaneous themes, popular culture in general. And then, his attraction to, what makes him important to his patrons? Any of you? Just a general theme. Duffy: Well, I think, I think you’ve cast about six years of questions but we have a few minutes to. I think one of the things that struck me when I was looking at Saint-Gaudens in comparison to his European associates, in particular, was that he was very different, and what Saint-Gaudens did was he combined a very direct, simple, kind of storytelling, which was very American, with this broader knowledge of world art, of the classics in the Renaissance and all of that, so he was also doing something that was very 19th century, in that he was bringing the world of art to a modern audience. If you remember the Farragut monument that I showed at the end of my talk, he took all of the world of classics to come up with that composition, but then he clothes the figure in a modern military uniform, and poses him in a modern military pose, so he’s making, he’s bringing it all into our world, into the world of our understanding, and that was not unique, there are other artists who are trying to do that, but what I think was unique was that he was doing it in a way that was much simpler, and I don’t mean that in a negative way, but he did it in a way that cuts out all of the extraneous qualities of the subject and just goes to the core of it and just gets to the heart of it. Doss: Anybody else? Kerning: Following up, I think there’s something, the purity element, Saint-Gaudens certainly didn’t go overboard the way the French did, and I think he, there is something in American art, there’s a kind of conservatism that I think his, is partly the American element, and he got that, and he didn’t go off on wild gesticulations. He kept it simple, and I think that’s what his audience understood. Mills: I think that he wanted to please his patrons very much, and so the angels in this case were probably what his patron wanted, or what was in the cemetery, and then audiences found audiences reacted to this in various ways, and so, one thing that’s interesting is that photographic firms like Curtis and Cameron, or firms that sold photographs for schools, would pick up on certain of his monuments, so the Adams memorial was one piece. That’s a story about American history, the Adams memorial was something that did attract. I wouldn’t call it so much a popular attention in terms of our popular culture, but it did attract a desire to have a photograph of it and a desire to go, to make this pilgrimage, so it’s a good question. Doss: Well, I mean, the angels, for example, are those his patrons? Who are those, they look very contemporaneous to me, the figures that he are using for those particular, for the Morgan funerary piece. Mills: You know, he normal–this is a good question asked. We have many Saint-Gaudens scholars among us in our audience today. I don’t actually think there was any evidence that he used the models for those, whereas later on I believe he always used models for his work, and he used bottles for the Adams memorial, and, and on the Saint-Gaudens site has identified a number of these models. Let’s see, I forget what the question was. Duffy: Well, I think that, if I can say, I think you were asking, “were these specific people”, and I think the simple answer is no, that there were not specific people, that they were they were meant to be idealizations of figures and not real people, although they look very realistic, those angels, they’re not meant to be real people. Doss: Yeah, I mean, they’re not sentimentalized, they’re not they’re not heroic, they seem very, very tangible as figures, so I’m just asking in terms of the response on the part of his patrons, his audience, what they’re responding to, and I think that Thayer’s paper’s particularly good in talking about the construction of his posthumous popularity and certainly patrons after his death are responding to the marketing. This is beforehand, this is a little bit beforehand, so I’m really interested in the bigger question is, I suppose, what makes Augustus Saint-Gaudens an American artist or an American sculptor. How does that play into patronage, issues of perception, etc. Tolles: Well, we were talking earlier about the ‘rock star phenomenon’, and I would say that Saint-Gaudens was the ‘rock star’ sculptor of the 1880s and the 1890s, but it was a very deliberate marketing that he carried out, hand-in-hand with a group of critics, who all had the same goal, to use American art as a means of expressing cultural power on an international stage and he was extremely shrewd at doing this and, you know, you have to look at ways that people entertain themselves then, by going to exhibitions, and there wasn’t much, this is what their means of going to museums was entertainment the way it is today, but you know, he was a name brand then, and then that was, in turn, you know, once his reputation was up and running, it was turned in a different way to not only foster this American school of sculpture and younger sculptors, but, as I mentioned earlier, sort of use for more conservative purposes, but I think he always was a popular sculptor, obviously during his lifetime, but after his death for a number of years as well. Mills: Well, when he died, we looked at newspaper notices, and the French claimed him as a French sculptor, and the Americans claimed him as an all-American sculptor, so… Tolles: Or an Irish-American sculptor. Mills: Whatever…Everyone wanted to claim him. I just think. Muffy: Well, and I think that’s interesting because I don’t know off-hand of any other American sculptor at that time who was so universally known at his death, that there were three memorial services after his death, and the last one happened here in Washington, and in 1908, and it was essentially a state funeral. It was attended by, not only the President, but the congressional delegation, the diplomatic core, the Supreme Court, the cabinet, and there was many ambassadors who spoke, and among them were unexpected ones. You would expect the ambassador from England or France or something, but the ambassador from Japan spoke, and the ambassador from Brazil spoke, and that’s interesting to me because I don’t know at that time, or if any other American sculptor who would have been known in Japan, who would have been known in Brazil, and that’s quite interesting about Saint-Gaudens. Doss: It’s a great contrast to today. I don’t think folk like that attended Andy Warhol’s funeral, although a lot of celebrities certainly did. I think comments were making earlier too, about Teddy Roosevelt’s hand in designing, or asking him to design coins for the United States, among others, about the state of coinage today, but I won’t go there. I was wondering, Henry, if you could return to the story that you hinted about, about Rodin and Saint-Gaudens? Muffy: Well, there are, there are a lot of good stories about Saint-Gaudens and Rodin, but the one about Camille Claudel was that he wanted to, on one of his visits to Rodin’s studio, he did meet Camille, and he did make remarks to people afterwards about her, and he saw what everybody saw about Camille, that she was an immensely talented artist, whose personality got in the way of her talent and she just couldn’t, well, wasn’t able to control her personality in order to make herself really succeed in the art business, and he had noticed that the same, as everyone else did, but, but that was interesting. But he, the thing which I would love to heard, though because I almost suspected that they must have done it, but Saint-Gaudens and Rodin’s discussion about Michelangelo. They were both an immensely avid followers of Michelangelo, as any sculptor of that, of most time periods has to be, but I would love to have heard them talk about Michelangelo, because you see Michelangelo’s influence in both of their works and it would have been interesting to hear what they had to say about it. I can picture them sitting on the terrace at Murdone, with a glass of wine in their hands, talking about Michelangelo, it must have been wonderful. Sturman: I think they were both also very hands-on, which not all artists of the time would have been, that Saint-Gaudens continued to change his pieces over and over again, where someone else could just commission it, cast it, mold it, and then that’s it, and moves onto the next one, but he’s always trying to make it better, or responding to a new type of criticism or his own internal desire, especially with the angel, or someone, and Rodin the same way, continued to change and he also had the history of posthumous casts, so there’s a lot of common threads. Duffy: And it’s interesting that Saint-Gaudens, like all sculptors, that we know, when one of his major works was at the foundry, he was a wreck, he would be, the stories told that he would a–when he was in Cornish, he would go off into the trails, there were trails that would go off into the woods from the main campus and buildings, and he would disappear for the day, because he couldn’t stand still, he was so nervous about it. And when you speak to sculptors today, that that’s the case, that it’s the truth, that you’re so nervous about whether it will come out right or not, and that you just can’t stand still. It was a major thing. We’re seeing it in your talk and in that film, that the decisions about what the finish will be like, what the texture will be like and all that, is so much importance to the final decision, the final piece, that it’s absolutely crucial. Tolles: It must have been really hard for him to let go for the casting of the Sherman in Paris after he had come back, and there were just tons of letters back and forth between Artisan and himself about, you know, I think that I had the strap of the bit through the mouth incorrectly, and sending pieces to replace in the plaster model, and has it been cast yet, and I think one of the joys and one of the things that makes Saint-Gaudens so difficult is that he cared intensely about the sculptural process from beginning to end, and that is certainly not something that you find with all artists from this period. And that’s what makes it easy to distinguish his really great bronzes from just kind of the more ho-hum commercial bronzes. Mills: Well, with his quote, you can do anything you want, but it’s all the detail. Doss: We haven’t brought this up, but and I don’t know if it’s appropriate, but what’s the fraud market like? Are there a lot of fraudulents? Tolles: We heard “frog”. [Laughter] Tolles: Well, why don’t you tell about the eBay, the Dianas on eBay? Muffy: Oh, well, yeah, I mean. Occasionally there are pieces that show up, and in the last few year, there’s been a small Diana, which has been on eBay in various guises and it’s not anything to do with Saint-Gaudens, and it’s, it is, it has his name on it, it has some resemblance to his piece, but it had nothing to do with it. There are– Doss: So it’s a blatant forgery? Muffy: It is a blatant forgery, yeah. When it first appeared on the market, it was advertised as a Saint-Gaudens statue, it didn’t last long, because I’m sure the person was told many times that it wasn’t, so it’s come back in various guises. I’ve seen it attributed to other artists, and then it was attributed to, now it’s I think it’s sold and it comes up sold as a style of, or a school of, which it really isn’t either. So, if any of you see it out there, don’t buy it. Doss: And before we open it up to the audience, perhaps everyone could talk a little bit about what do you think, what work needs to be done on Augustus Saint-Gaudens? What are some future directions pointing all scholars, younger scholars, those who would hopefully be sparked with interest in this time period and this artist. What in your opinion, still needs to be done? Tolles: A lot. Well, I think that, you know, people should go back to the papers again, because I think, not only was Saint-Gaudens, but with other artists, there’s a tendency to recycle material by going to secondary sources, and you know, I think going back to the papers can be exhilarating, and you can learn new things, and so I would say that I think it’s good news that there’s so much more to do on such a major artist and, and not only sort of the straight, formal, more connoisseurship type of work, but also really interesting social and cultural tie-ins to, and putting him in a much larger context, not only with other sculptors, but we were talking about earlier, putting him in a more of an American studies context, and also world sculpture as well. I think that’s a really important thing that needs to be done. Sturman: From a scientific, analytical viewpoint, I think it would also be very exciting, or stimulating, to try and study the different bronzes to see if there are changes from foundry to foundry, in terms of the metal or the alloy employed, also in terms of the finishing and the chasing, can you begin, and I know that we have, which is very valuable, documented information where he preferred one foundry to another at certain times, we were talking about that as well, so do we see difference, did he continue, did he try and have foundries use the same alloy composition wherever they were, this is the bronze that I like, this is the technique that I like. I think it would help, then, eventually also, if if one has to worry about posthumous casts and sur-melanges, that this would be the right composition for a lifetime piece, this would be the authorized pieces and then there would be the ones that are completely, that fall out of the range, and that could be another way of finding your forgeries. Doss?: Sort of what they’ve done with the Remington market. 2:44:53
Tolles: There’s so much that, I think that there is so much more potential for interaction between conservators and art historians to unlock a lot of mysteries about sculpture generally. Mills: I think we’ve done a great deal about his biography and stylistic influence, and have, thanks to John DryfhoutJohn Dryfhout, and others in the audience today, we’ve identified his works and much of the information about them, but there’s just a wealth of ways in which we can approach his career or his circle, or the ideas of the time, and there’s a new dissertation that just came out on humor, has a chapter on Saint-Gaudens and his Puritan, for example, that we could talk about, his teaching came up, influence on the next generation, his ideas about religion and evolution that we raised today, sensuality, race, class and gender, all of these we could really not terribly much has been done, there’s many dissertation opportunities out there. Muffy: So I think that if there’s any graduate students in the audience who want to talk to any one of us, we will let you know what needs to be done. Doss: Come up with five of them, yes. I think I’ll open it up, unless there’s discussion amongst the five of you, for questions. Should we open it up to the audience? Okay, are there questions, comments, from the audience, in the back. Audience Member: I have a question about merchandising of the Shaw Memorial, which essentially awe-inspiring piece, but you know, whether they were lifted opportunities, but did either he or his wife subsequently try to market any aspect of that statuary, or do something with it? Muffy: Well, for one thing, Saint-Gaudens issued a series of large-format photographs of the monument who were published by Curtis and Cameron in Boston, and he made quite a steady income out of those, but I think it’s mainly after his death that individual pieces were taken out and made casts of to use in sale, and that was done by his wife. Audience member: I’ve fascinated by the entrepreneurial aspect of his wife, especially speaking of what Thayer Tolles said, but I was surprised to hear when you mention that he died not wealthy, and that he even had to pay, or his wife had to pay certain debts, and it seems surprising to hear that about an artist who had the equivalent of a state funeral. What’s so sad as an entre– Tolles: Well, he was running a huge studio and enterprise– Doss: Thayer, could you speak a little bit– Tolles: Sure, I mean, it was a big studio enterprise he was running, and at some points he had up to 15 assistants there, and he was, I would imagine that many of the monumental commissions were paid in tranches, and he got, you know, he could count, it was not a steady flow of income, and I don’t, you know, John Dryfhout could probably speak, or Henry, to this better than I can, but he was, he was not wealthy by any stretch and I think there were periods in his life where he was more comfortable, but he was never a wealthy artist. Muffy: I don’t think he was poor–
Tolles: Destitute
Muffy: I mean it was– Tolles: It was just a cash-flow issue at that moment.
Muffy: Yeah, it was a cash-flow issue, and that’s the case with any sculptor, even to this day. You have to get the commissions in order to get the income, so you know, it’s always kind of feast or famine, kind of goes up or down, but he certainly lived a comfortable middle-class life, and I would say upper-middle-class. It was also, I think, easier, in that time, to live above your means, and that was actually quite common. It wasn’t uncommon, I mean, for people to live with the trappings of wealth, even if they didn’t have it. Tolles: I think this is one of the reasons Augusta was particularly, during his lifetime even, checking in with the showrooms in New York and Boston, and eagerly awaiting these $240 checks that would come from the sale of a model or two, and they really, I think, depended on that steady flow of income. Mills: And many of the contracts would have dates in which you would be paid if you reached a certain stage, and I think, so that the day you present, what, the plaster model, you get– Tolles: Probably on signing of contract, the sketch model, the acceptance of the final model, and the final dedication of the, so that there were three or four– Doss: Sounds like building a kitchen.
Tolles: Or publishing a book or something. Mills: Well it is, I think that’s why they were always incessantly juggling these things, because wanted to reach that stage on the next thing, and then move over to this project, just like a contractor in some senses. Muffy: You know, there’s an example of a sculptor that I’m aware of that recently had a commission, that I think was close to a million dollars, but he got maybe 1% of that himself, most of it goes to the actual manufacture of the piece, not to the– Mills: Right, you have to get the materials, you have to pay the people, and then balance that against when you’re going to receive, when you get paid.
Stuman: And then you get no money while you’re making the sketch, or making the models, and I know with the Shaw, that some groups had raised some money, but it wasn’t enough, and they had to keep working really hard to get enough money to support that. Kerning: Well, a lot of the New England commissions that I know from my study on [“Al Moyer”], they kind of loaded it up so that you didn’t get much until you got it done, and then they really want to make, to have a prize at the end, and they were very stingy about handing it out, and they had time limits, too, so, they kind of had to, in a kind of grasp of where you really needed to produce, get it in on time, otherwise you hurt, because you were paying all of your people to help you and produce the work. Mills: And because of the meticulousness and his fussiness, I think sometimes, he wasn’t letting things go, and that was part of this thing–
Tolles: He was losing money on things Doss: Yes. Audience Member: Do you know about information with his temporary sculptures? [inaudible] Muffy: He did quite well. because he was a teacher, because he was an organizer of exhibitions and organizations, he played a major role in that, and he was a very generous person in that sense, and he he didn’t want to just hoard all the glory for himself, but he wanted to share it, so he did quite a lot in that area. He was one of the founders of the National Sculpture Society, and the American Academy in Rome, when other areas, to try to get other, the benefit of training to a wide group. As a commissioner of the Chicago World’s Fair, he played an important role in selecting people. I did, in the Midwest, find one sculptor who was not selected, and there was one of the few places I’ve been in which people don’t speak well of Saint-Gaudens, but that’s because that particular sculptor was not chosen, but anyway, in most cases, he was opening the world of sculpture to many people. Kerning: Well, I’ve, the World’s Fair is a great example because he really gave the commissions out to a lot of other people that were going to become part of the National Sculpture Society. After the fair, when the Library of Congress was being constructed, they, the National Sculpture Society and Saint-Gaudens were asked to come down and help pick the sculptors to, for the Library of Congress. Well, you know, here he is, the major sculptor, and yet, he only gets one commission, which he gives to his brother. He designs it, but there’s one figure that Louis carries out, and then he’s asked to come down and do the McMillan commission, and I mean, he’s so highly regarded that he was always being asked for his input, and yet, he was always kind of sloughing stuff off to other people. He didn’t really have to ask for commissions, people came to him, and that’s an enviable position to be in. He didn’t have to compete, he didn’t have to really go for, a lot of the sculptors in the 19th century had to compete for commissions. He didn’t. Tolles: He wouldn’t. No, he refused to after, well he was burned in a competition early in his career, and he said, you know, you want me you want me, or you don’t get me. But I think, as Saint-Gaudens’ closest circle of friends were not sculptors who were not, I think he took more of a paternal or a [funcular] role with other sculptors, especially those who were in his studio. Someone like Frederick MacMonnies, who he had a real sort of love-hate relationship with, and James Earle Fraser, a number of women artists: Frances Grimes, Mary Lawrence. There were–Adolph Weinman, many of the second generation of artists who trained in Paris, got their start or at some point passed through the Saint-Gaudens studio, and another artist we’re not talking about is Daniel Chester French, who comes, and Olin Warner, come as close to being Saint-Gaudens’ contemporaries as anyone ever–French was slightly younger than Saint-Gaudens, and they not particularly close friends, but they respected each other, and they were genial competitors, but they sort of each had their niche, and so there was pretty–so there was plenty of room in the sandbox at that time. So, but it was, you know, I think he kept a distance from certain sculptors intentionally. Mills: What about his brother, Louis? He was a, he was a significant sculptor, what was his relationship to him? Muffy: Yeah, Louis Saint-Gaudens is, he should be well-known to people in Washington, because he was the sculptor for Union Station, the large allegorical figures on the outside, and the Roman soldiers on the inside. Louis Saint-Gaudens was a very talented sculptor, had a somewhat more lighthearted touch rather than his brother. I think if his brother had never been born, Louis would have been known as a really good sculptor, a great sculptor, but he was always in the shadow of his brother, and that was both good and bad for him and in his lifetime, but he was a very–he was quite talented, and did a number of commissions, both private and large public commissions as well. Doss: Yes? Audience Member: Two questions, actually, both about the Shaw Memorial. What is his background or relationship and hands-on with the horse, I think more than any horse in art that I’ve ever seen, he so had it right with regards to the composition of the horse, the movement of the horse, the beauty of of every aspect of that horse, and also why the Ionic columns framing that piece at the National Gallery? Tolles: That was the… Sturman: I think’s a story about the horse, and did he have a live horse that he was molding, Sturman: I think’s a story about the horse, and did he have a live horse that he was molding,
[Chorus of agreements under Sturman’s voice] and the horse died because it got a chill from the plaster, so there was–
[Chorus of agreements under Sturman’s voice] and the horse died because it got a chill from the plaster, so there was– Mills: And he made people wait, in one story, made someone wait, he was supposed to pose for him, because it was time for him to be viewing the horse not the person. Muffy: But he, then he had to get another horse model, but, and he was actually quite distraught because it was his favorite horse, and his intention was not to make a live cast, to, it was not to take the easy way out, it was to get, as you say, to get it right, so that when he did the horse, he could do it correctly, he was very detailed-oriented in his work, but, but then, he did work quite extensively on the horse. Probably more so than others. But, he, I’m not so sure about the, I’m not so sure about the classical origins. He did work many classical origins of equestrian statues as well. As I mentioned in my talk, the Fremiet, work of Joan of Arc, he was most taken by the horse in that, which is also a very spirited, animated horse. The Sherman monument in New York, the face of the horse is based on the horse of Night, in the Parthenon frieze, and so there are various elements of horses that he took, but in the Shaw, he was very detail-oriented, and the point of taking that live cast was to make sure that he got it absolutely correct. Mills: Janet, do you know about the ionic columns? Sturman: Well, that was after the McKim setting in Boston. It was like that and you might not have noticed them, but in all, I, in Boston… Audience Member: Oh, aren’t they? I didn’t see the one in Boston, so I didn’t notice that was part of the illusion, well, thank you. Doss: I think we have time for one more question. Over here, perhaps? Yes. Audience Member: I just wanted to say to Miss Sturman, we [inaudible], the second Shaws…and 9th and Rhode Island, North West. Most kids learned about the Shaw Memorial in 1960s and 70s, and I sit here today at 45 years old, to the first trip to the National Gallery to see the Shaw memorial. Doss: That was a, Sturman: When in ‘97, when we had this great celebration and dedication, it was one of our many arguments, or not arguments, pleas, to the National Park Service because several institutions were vying to get this national treasures, and one of our many compelling reasons was that we have this Shaw neighborhood here, and it would be, where else in the country, but where everyone comes, and we are all familiar with the influx of people, all the tourists as well, to see the piece, and it, we are very fortunate to have it, and it was a costly undertaking for us to request it and to have it, and I think that it’s a very nice collaboration, but also, it’s a nice symbiosis because at the same time, molds were taken and a new bronze was made for Cornish, so they have one there, and we have this plaster here, and I can’t tell you how many really distinguished and important visitors, as well as lots of every-day people and school children who come through and are just struck by seeing that piece. I took Alan Alda down that long route, and I have to say, he refused to see it until we were taped so he hadn’t seen it until we took that walk, and he was just, his breath was taken away, and but sometimes when you enter it, if you enter from one of the side galleries, you come in on the horse’s backside, so I recommend you take people the grand vista. Doss: I’d like to thank our panelists, we have to take a break now for the film folks to set up. The film will start at 5 o’clock, but if we could give a round of applause to everyone. [Applause]

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