Head of Victory
Object Place: Cornish, New Hampshire; Place of Manufacture: Providence, Rhode Island
Overall (includes marble base): 31.8 x 17.8 x 16.5 cm (12 1/2 x 7 x 6 1/2 in.) Overall (bronze figure only): 20.3 x 17.8 x 16.5 cm (8 x 7 x 6 1/2 in.)
Medium or Technique
Bronze, green-brown patina, lost-wax cast; marble base
Jan and Warren Adelson Gallery (Gallery 221)
Augustus Saint-Gaudens was the leading sculptor of the American Renaissance. Apprenticed to a New York cameo cutter, Saint-Gaudens later studied sculpture at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He collaborated on important commissions with the famed architects Henry Hobson Richardson, Charles McKim, and Stanford White and is perhaps best known for his pathbreaking work in bronze.
The Head of Victory is one of several studies for Saint-Gaudens’s last great public sculpture, the Sherman Monument, commissioned by the State of New York for the Grand Army Plaza in New York City and completed in 1903. A much-praised equestrian sculpture, the monument depicts General Tecumseh Sherman led by a winged figure of Victory. At his studio in Cornish, New Hampshire, Saint-Gaudens revised the head of Victory several times, even while the monument was being cast. He later produced bronze casts, including this one, of the head’s second version. Noted American artist Kenyon Cox wrote of the Victory figure on the Sherman Monument: “She has a certain fierce wildness of aspect, but her rapt gaze and half-open mouth indicate the seer of visions[:] peace is ahead and an end of war.”
This text was adapted from Ward, et al., MFA Highlights: American Decorative Arts & Sculpture (Boston, 2006) available at www.mfashop.com/mfa-publications.html.
Richard A. Bourne Co., Hyannis, Mass.; Aug. 6, 1977.
Helen and Alice Colburn Fund