Augustus Saint-Gaudens (American, Dublin 1848–1907 Cornish, New Hampshire)
1884–87; reduced 1910; cast 1911
40 1/2 x 16 1/2 x 30 1/4 in. (102.9 x 41.9 x 76.8 cm)
Purchase, Tyson Family Gift, in memory of Edouard and Ellen Muller; The Beatrice G. Warren and Leila W. Redstone, and Maria DeWitt Jesup Funds; Dorothy and Imre Cholnoky, David Schwartz Foundation Inc., Joanne and Warren Josephy, Annette de la Renta, Thomas H. and Diane DeMell Jacobsen Ph.D. Foundation, and Felicia Fund Inc. Gifts, 2012
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 762
This statuette is a reduction after Saint-Gaudens’s monument to Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865), which was dedicated in Chicago’s Lincoln Park in 1887. The sculptor based the portrait on Leonard Wells Volk’s life mask of Lincoln (2007.185.2) and on photographs taken during his presidency. Saint-Gaudens’s vision of the Great Emancipator was further informed by his subject’s speeches and writings and by his own youthful remembrances of Lincoln’s visits to New York. Here, a pensive Lincoln stands before the eagle-emblazoned Chair of State, his left foot advanced and his head bowed reflectively as he prepares to deliver a public address.
Signature: Signed and dated (proper left edge of base): AVGVSTVS•SAINT-GAVDENS•SCVLPTOR•M•D•C•C•C•LXXXVII; Inscribed (rear edge of base, center): COPYRIGHT 1912 BY A.H. SAINT-GAUDENS [cold-worked into base in June 1912, at Augusta Saint-Gaudens’s request] and (on chair back): E / PLVRIBVS / VNVM; Labeled in red paint (rear edge of base, center): 11.12.1.L [loan number of sculpture while at the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art, 1911-43].
[Tiffany Studios, 1911]; Augusta Saint-Gaudens (widow of the artist), 1911–12; Clara Stone Hay (Mrs. John), 1912–d. 1914; Estate of Mrs. John Hay (her children Helen Hay Whitney, Alice Hay Wadsworth, and Clarence Hay), 1914–43; George Tiffany and Daniel Norton, Nestle Group, 1943; Dr. Edouard Muller, President and General Director of Nestle Group, Stamford, Conn., 1943–d. 1948; his widow Ellen Hemmeler Muller, Stamford, Conn., 1948–1957; their daughter Christiane Tyson and family, Coral Gables, Fla., 1957–2012