Illustration from The Reminiscences of Augustus Saint Gaudens (1913)
Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Date: American sculptor, 1848–1907
Biography: The naturalistic portraits and impressive monuments of Augustus Saint-Gaudens reinvigorated American sculpture in the late 19th century. Saint-Gaudens was born in Dublin, Ireland, to a French father and an Irish mother. His family immigrated to New York when he was an infant. At age 13, Saint-Gaudens was apprenticed to a stone cameo cutter before attending the Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design. In 1867, he traveled to Paris where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts. A few years later he visited Rome where expatriate American sculptors worked in a Neoclassical tradition. In the 1870s he traveled between Rome, Paris, and New York, where he made striking low-relief portraits of prominent citizens. He collaborated with the decorator John La Farge and the architects Stanford White and Charles McKim, launching the American Renaissance. In 1877 in collaboration with White, Saint-Gaudens began work on a monument to Admiral David Farragut for Madison Square Park. Completed in 1880, this monument established Saint-Gaudens' place as a leading American sculptor. In 1900, he settled year-round in Cornish, New Hampshire, the site of a lively artists' colony.