Augustus Saint-Gaudens (American, Dublin 1848–1907 Cornish, New Hampshire)
1872–73; carved 1874
22 7/8 x 12 3/4 x 9 1/4 in. (58.1 x 32.4 x 23.5 cm)
Gift of Erving and Joyce Wolf, in memory of Diane R. Wolf, 1987
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 763
Early in his career, Saint-Gaudens secured several commissions for portrait busts of middle-aged male sitters, all of which he executed in the hybrid real-ideal style that was popular at the time. This portrait of the prominent attorney William Maxwell Evarts (1818–1901) is a vigorous, naturalistic bust terminating in a classicizing undraped chest and an ennobling herm. When he first met the sculptor in Rome, Evarts was based in Geneva, Switzerland, as the United States’s counsel at the Alabama claims tribunal, which had been convened to review sanctions against the British for aiding the Confederate cause during the Civil War.
Signature: [edge of right shoulder]: Aug St Gaudens Roma / 1874
William M. Evarts, died 1901; by descent in family, Windsor, Vermont., until 1986; Erving and Joyce Wolf, until 1987