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
Saint-Gaudens was born March
1, 1848 in Dublin, Ireland but immigrated to New York City six months
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
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
art and architecture for five years, and worked on his first
met his wife -- an American art student (Augusta Homer) and they were
The following year
'78, he's back
in Paris for the world Exposition and served on the jury for American
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
to the south of France to study architecture which would cement their
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.
in New York's Madison Square in 1881, the monument was a tremendous
its combination of realism and allegory, a departure from previous
sculpture. Saint-Gaudens' fame grew, and other commissions were quickly
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
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
and served on the MacMillan Commission, which made recommendations for
the architectural and artistic preservation and improvement of the
distinctive public sculptures.
A nymph "Diana of the Tower"
set atop Stanford White's Madison Square Gardens -- since razed, but
version remain as one of THE icons of the period. He produced
memorials such as the Adams Memorial, the Peter Cooper
and the John A. Logan Monument. Perhaps his greatest
during this period, was the Shaw Memorial unveiled on Boston
in 1897. Described as Saint-Gaudens' "symphony in bronze," this
took fourteen years to complete.
cancer in 1900, he
decided to live in Cornish year round. For the next seven years,
diminishing energy, he continued to work, producing a steady stream of
reliefs and public sculpture.
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