William Henry Rinehart (American, Union Bridge, Maryland 1825–1874 Rome)
1856; carved 1874
19 1/8 x 15 3/8 in. (48.6 x 39.1 cm)
Gift of Ronald E. Fritz, 1985
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774
"Spring" and its pendant, "Winter," were among the earliest works Rinehart created after moving to Italy in 1855. Personifications of the seasons and the times of day were frequent themes in Neoclassical relief sculpture. This work is reminiscent of the popular reliefs by the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, especially his "Day and Night" (1815; Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen). Only the oval shape is a departure, since most Neoclassical reliefs are circular. Rinehart's bas-relief depicts a young woman as the personification of Spring, with classicized facial features and hair treatment. Her flowing drapery, revealing one breast in the manner of antique sculptures of Amazons, closely outlines her elongated form. She scatters flowers, her symbol.
Signature: [lower left and center]: WM H. RINEHART. SCULPT. ROME. 1874
the artist, until d. 1874; John Work Garrett, Baltimore, 1875–d. 1884; his daughter Mary E. Garrett, Baltimore, 1884–until d. 1915; Estate of Mary E. Garrett, 1915–1919; [American Art Association, New York, February 15, 1919, no. 320]; Caroline C. Donnerick; Ronald E. Fritz, until 1985