Mildred Howells

1898
Augustus Saint-Gaudens (American (born in Ireland), 1848–1907), Frame attributed to Stanford White (American, 1853–1906)


Object Place: New York, New York

Catalogue Raisonné

72

Dimensions

Overall (frame): 78.7 x 73.7 cm (31 x 29 in.) Other (diameter of bronze): 53.3 cm (21 in.)

Accession Number

57.558

Medium or Technique

Bronze, brown patina, lost-wax cast

On View

Jan and Warren Adelson Gallery (Gallery 221)

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Sculpture

Bronze relief portrait profile. Has original frame.


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.

In his bronze reliefs, which reflect his admiration for the fine reliefs by Italian Renaissance masters Pisanello and Donatello, Saint-Gaudens employed subtle textures and a multitude of painterly effects that create depth and liveliness of surface. He excerpted the portrait of Mildred Howells, a celebrated poet and watercolorist, from a double portrait relief (now lost) of Mildred and her father, the writer and editor William Dean Howells. Saint-Gaudens, who admired both father and daughter, proposed the project himself. Mildred’s forthright gaze, elegant profile, and jaunty pose with her hand on her hip reveal a stylish and confident young woman. The relief is set in its original frame, believed to have been designed by Saint-Gaudens’s friend Stanford White.

This text was adapted from Ward, et al., MFA Highlights: American Decorative Arts & Sculpture (Boston, 2006) available at www.mfashop.com/mfa-publications.html.

Signed

"MILDRED . HOWELLS . / NEW-YORK . M . DC. C. C. / . XCVIII. / . FROM . AVGVSTVS . SAINT-GAVDENS "

Provenance

William Dean Howells, New York; Mildred Howells, Boston.

Credit Line

Gift of Miss Mildred Howells