Robert Louis Stevenson modeled 1887

Saint-Gaudens's medallion of John Singer Sargent 
  6.4 cm (2 1/2 in.) diameter 
Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France 

Grand Stairway
Boston Public Library
c. 1895

Diana of the Tower Verious version 1886-1893

Amor Caritas 1898



Augustus Saint-Gaudens 
American sculpture (1848-1907) 

Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907) is one of America's greatest sculptures, a teacher, a prominent member of the City Beautiful movement, and he helped define the Gilded ages by adorning with relief sculptures the colossal homes of the Nouveau riche.  

Augustus Saint-Gaudens was born March 1, 1848 in Dublin, Ireland but immigrated to New York City six months later where he grew up. Completing school at age thirteen, he apprenticed to a cameo cutter and took art classes at the Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design.  

At 19 (1867), he traveled to Paris where he studied under Francois Jouffry at the renown Ecole des Beaux-Arts. In 1870, he left Paris for Rome and studied classical art and architecture for five years, and worked on his first commissions, met his wife -- an American art student (Augusta Homer) and they were married in 1877.  

The following year '78, he's back in Paris for the world Exposition and served on the jury for American artists with  Francis D. Millet. Also in town was Charles McKim and he might have met John Singer Sargent who was studying in Paris during this time. After the Exposition Saint-Gaudens and McKim traveled to the south of France to study architecture which would cement their ideas of Beaux-Arts Classicism (after the French Ecole des Beaux-Arts). 

In 1876 he received his first major commission; a monument to Civil War Admiral David Glasgow Farragut. Unveiled in New York's Madison Square in 1881, the monument was a tremendous success; its combination of realism and allegory, a departure from previous American sculpture. Saint-Gaudens' fame grew, and other commissions were quickly forthcoming.  

Saint-Gaudens' increased prominence allowed him to pursue his strong interest in teaching, something he did steadily from 1888 to 1897. He tutored young artists privately, taught at the Art Students League, and took on a large number of assistants.  

He was involved with the men of the City Beautiful movement -- artistic advisor to the Columbian Exposition of 1893, an avid supporter of the American Academy in Rome, and served on the MacMillan Commission, which made recommendations for the architectural and artistic preservation and improvement of the Nation's Capital.  

He produced distinctive public sculptures. A nymph "Diana of the Tower"  set atop Stanford White's Madison Square Gardens -- since razed, but smaller version remain as one of THE icons of the period. He produced beautiful memorials such as the Adams Memorial, the Peter Cooper Monument, and the John A. Logan Monument. Perhaps his greatest achievement during this period, was the Shaw Memorial unveiled on Boston Common in 1897. Described as Saint-Gaudens' "symphony in bronze," this masterpiece took fourteen years to complete.  

Diagnosed with cancer in 1900, he decided to live in Cornish year round. For the next seven years, despite diminishing energy, he continued to work, producing a steady stream of reliefs and public sculpture.  

Saint-Gaudens died in Cornish on August 3, 1907. His wife survived him for nineteen years, and continued to summer at Aspet. In 1919, she and their son, Homer, established the Saint-Gaudens Memorial, an organization dedicated to preserve the place as an historic site. In 1965, the Memorial donated the property to the National Park Service and their website online is fabulous for more information on Augustus Saint-Gaudens.    


Created 10/29/2003



Puppet Shows

Puppet Shows