William Henry II and Cornelius Vanderbilt III
(American, Dublin 1848–1907 Cornish, New Hampshire)
16 1/4 x 26 1/8 in. (41.3 x 66.4 cm)
Purchase, Friends of the American Wing Fund, Dorothy Schwartz Gift, and Morris K. Jesup Fund, 2010
The eldest of Alice and Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s four sons, William Henry (1870–1892) and Cornelius (1873–1942), are the subjects of one of three low-relief portraits of Vanderbilt family members modeled by Saint-Gaudens for the couple’s palatial New York residence. At ages eleven and eight, the boys appear poised to assume the dynastic mantle, as implied by the end panels depicting oak leaves and acorns from the family’s coat of arms. Saint-Gaudens also completed a monumental mantelpiece for the house’s entry hall (on view in the Charles Engelhard Court of the American Wing; acc. no. 25.234) and fourteen carved wood panels for the dining-room ceiling.
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