George Edwin Bissell (American, New Preston, Connecticut 1839–1920 Mount Vernon, New York)
1893, cast by 1902
27 1/2 x 13 1/2 x 16 3/4 in. (69.9 x 34.3 x 42.5 cm)
Gift of General John Watts de Peyster, 1906
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774
In 1893 John Watts de Peyster commissioned Bissell to execute a seated bronze portrait of his great-great-great grandfather, Colonel de Heer Abraham de Peyster (1657–1728). The statue was planned to commemorate the achievements of one of New York’s first leading citizens, who dedicated his life to public service, most notably as mayor of the city between 1691 and 1695 and as treasurer of the province from 1706 to 1721. The overlifesize statue was erected in 1896 in Bowling Green. In 1972, when this area of lower Manhattan was redesigned, the sculpture was moved to its present location in Hanover Square. Like the monument, the Metropolitan’s statuette shows de Peyster sitting forward, attired in period dress and a wig with tumbling, shoulder-length curls. Bissell, who trained in Paris, borrowed from the past in the distinct resemblance of the pose to Michelangelo’s Moses (1513-16) in Rome’s San Pietro in Vincoli. Bissell referred to the statuette version as a study for the monument, and differences in positioning of the figure and some of the accessories bear out this statement.
Signature: [left side of base]: Geo E. Bissell / Sculptor
Inscription: [front of base, in cartouche]: Colonel. de Heer / Abraham de Peyster / Mayor of New-York / 1691-1695 / Collector of the Port / of New-York / 1701-1708 / Born 1657 / Died 1728
Marking: [foundry mark, right side of base]: [cursive] Fond. G. Vignali. Firenze.