Augustus Saint-Gaudens


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The leading American sculptor of his generation. He was born in Dublin of a French father and an Irish mother, who settled in America when he was an infant. His training included a period of six years studying in Paris and then Rome, after which he settled in New York in 1874. His preferred medium was bronze and he was primarily a maker of public monuments, although he also did a good deal of work on a smaller scale, including busts, medallions, and the design of the US $20 gold piece (1907). His style was vigorously naturalistic. Most of his work is in the USA, but there are good examples elsewhere, notably a statue of Charles Stewart Parnell in Dublin and a life-size bronze relief of Robert Louis Stevenson (1904) in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh. Saint-Gaudens was a highly important figure in the development of American sculpture: he turned the tide against Neoclassicism and made Paris, rather than Rome, the artistic Mecca of his countrymen. From 1885 he spent his summers at Cornish, New Hampshire, and settled there in 1900; his studio was declared a national historic site in 1964. Casts of most of his works can be seen there.

Subjects: Art.

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