Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Mary Justina de Peyster

Artist:
George Edwin Bissell (American, New Preston, Connecticut 1839–1920 Mount Vernon, New York)
Date:
late 1880s
Medium:
Marble
Dimensions:
27 x 14 1/2 x 9 in. (68.6 x 36.8 x 22.9 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of General John Watts de Peyster, 1907
Accession Number:
07.113
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774
Bissell was commissioned to execute this bust of Mary Justina de Peyster (1802–1821) by her son, John Watts de Peyster. One of many portraits that Bissell undertook for the de Peyster family, it appears to be the only extant likeness of a female family member that the sculptor completed. Bissell apparently carved the marble about 1887 and seems to have had a painted portrait of the long-deceased sitter at his disposal for reference. Bissell’s marble wavers between extremes of rigid neoclassicism and Beaux-Arts naturalism. He clearly delighted in such details as the aquiline nose, beaded hair comb, and corsage of blossoms. The surface is enlivened by the sweeping scrollwork on the rococo-revival cartouche and the curve of the shoulder termination.
Signature: [back] Geo: E. Bissell / Sculptor

Inscription: [front, in cartouche] [cursive] Mary Justina / de Peyster / daughter of / John and Jane Watts; [back] John Watts de Peyster. / her only child concepit / died July 28th 1821. / aged 19 years 10 months / and 2 days.
General John Watts de Peyster, ca. 1887–1907
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