Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Artist:
Daniel Chester French (American, Exeter, New Hampshire 1850–1931 Stockbridge, Massachusetts)
Date:
1879; cast 1906–7
Medium:
Bronze
Dimensions:
22 1/2 x 10 1/4 x 9 in. (57.2 x 26 x 22.9 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of the artist, 1907
Accession Number:
07.101
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774
While growing up in Concord, Massachusetts, French met the town’s most celebrated resident, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), a distinguished philosopher and writer and the leader of the Transcendentalist movement. Over a month of sittings, French captured the essential features of Emerson’s physiognomy, notably his small, piercing eyes, distinctly curved nose, and characteristic sideways tilt of the head. Emerson offered the ultimate proof of the portrait’s realism by declaring, “That is the face that I shave.”
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