Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Vanderbilt Mantelpiece

Maker:
Augustus Saint-Gaudens (American, Dublin 1848–1907 Cornish, New Hampshire)
Date:
ca. 1881–83
Geography:
Made in New York, New York, United States
Culture:
American
Medium:
Marble, mosaic, oak, and cast iron
Dimensions:
184 3/8 x 154 7/8 x 37 1/4 in. (468.3 x 393.4 x 94.6 cm)
Classification:
Architecture
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt II, 1925
Accession Number:
25.234
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 700
This mantelpiece originally dominated the entrance hall of the residence of Cornelius Vanderbilt II on Fifth Avenue at 57th Street (demolished 1925-27). Working for the architect George B. Post, the artist John La Farge (1835-1910) created a lavish decorative program, to which Saint-Gaudens contributed many of the sculptural elements. Two classical caryatids, Amor (Love) and Pax (Peace), support the expansive entablature with bowed heads and upraised arms. The overmantel mosaic depicts a classically dressed woman holding a garland. The Latin phrase of hospitality flanking her head may be translated as “the house at its threshold gives evidence of the master’s good will. Welcome to the guest who arrives; farewell and helpfulness to him who departs.”
Inscription: [in mosaic, left cartouche] DEO / NON • / FORTUNE; [in mosaic, top center] DOMVS • IN • LIMINE • DOMINI / VOLVNTATEM • BONAM • / MONSTRAT • HOSPTI / INVENTI • SALVTATIO / VELEDICTO • ADIVM / ENTVMOVE • EXEVNTO; [above caryatids, left] AMOR; [right] PAX; [on fireback, monograms, each repeated three times n shiled] CV / AGV; [in center of oak entablature] v
Cornelius Vanderbilt II, New York, 1882–until d. 1899; his widow Mrs. Cornelius (Alice Gwynne) Vanderbilt II, until 1925
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