American sculpture (1848-1907)
Bronze with greenish
40 in. (101.6 cm.) high
GAVDENS/MDCCCXC---' (lower left)--stamped with title (upper center)--inscribed
'© by Augustus Saint Gaudens M/DCCCXCIX' (on a medallion affixed to
the bronze on the right edge)
A quintessential example of Augustus
Saint-Gaudens' Beaux-Arts style, Amor Caritas, which translates to "Angel
of Charity", is derived from several earlier commissions incorporating
draped female figures, and portraits of the artist's favorite model Davida
Clark. Among these are his 1879-80 project for the Edwin D. Morgan tomb
which was never completed, his 1881-83 caryatid figures for a mantlepiece
in Cornelius Vanderbilt II's New York mansion, and the design of 1887 for
the Ann Maria Smith tomb at the Island Cemetary, Newport, Rhode Island.
Dissatisfied with the translation
into stone of his design for the Smith tomb, and inspired by John Singer
Sargent's praise of the model, Saint-Gaudens reworked his design in 1898.
Amor Caritas was exhibited at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 where
it was awarded the Grand Prize. The French government purchased a bronze
cast of this relief for the Luxembourg Museum--a great honor for an American
artist. In 1918, an example was cast in gilt-bronze for The Metropolitan
Museum of Art, New York.
Saint-Gaudens cast approximately
twenty reductions of Amor Caritas in response to the Salon reception and
to the public's enthusiasm for the model. These were marketed in New York
by Tiffany & Co. and in Boston by Doll & Richards. Additional examples
of the present work are in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Cleveland
Museum and the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Private estate, Florida.
Christie's, New York, 4 December
1992, lot 172.
Acquired by the present owner from
L. Taft, The History of American
Sculpture, New York, 1924, 1969 reprint, pp. 296, another cast illustrated.
J.H. Dryfhout, The Work of Augustus
Saint-Gaudens, Hanover, New Hampshire, pp. 234-235, another cast illustrated.
Sold at Christies, New York, Dec
04, 2003; Lot 34, Sale # 1309; 153,100 US