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The American Civil War: Shadows of Ourselves

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Sculpture Gallery, Boston Athenaeum

Southworth and Hawes (American, active 1843–1863)

Artist:
Albert Sands Southworth (American, West Fairlee, Vermont 1811–1894 Charlestown, Massachusetts)
Artist:
Josiah Johnson Hawes (American, Wayland, Massachusetts 1808–1901 Crawford Notch, New Hampshire)
Date:
ca. 1855
Medium:
Daguerreotype
Dimensions:
visible: 18.6 x 13.7 cm (7 5/16 x 5 3/8 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
The Rubel Collection, Purchase, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee and Lila Acheson Wallace Gifts, 1997
Accession Number:
1997.382.40
  • Description

    Albert Sands Southworth and Josiah Johnson Hawes were known worldwide for the extreme finesse of their daguerreotype portraits of Boston's notable politicians, writers, merchants, and other prominent citizens, a fine collection of which was among the early photographic acquisitions of the Metropolitan Museum in 1937. This whole-plate daguerreotype shows a type of subject not otherwise represented in the Museum's collection of Southworth and Hawes-a display of American sculpture at the Boston Atheneum. At the center is a plaster cast of Diana of Versailles, famed since the sixteenth century as a touchstone of Roman sculpture. Around it, in one of the earliest permanent displays of sculpture in America, are a cast of Houdon's bust of Washington and another, possibly of Franklin—in sum, a declaration of Boston's claim to be the "Athens of America." Like the casts themselves, Southworth and Hawes's exquisite daguerreotype is a faithful copy of reality, in their words a "transformation of shadows into substance."

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscribed in black crayon on plate verso: "Daguerreotypes by Southworth & Hawes Boston"; portion of seal attached; in Landing of Columbus thermoplastic union case

  • Provenance

    Hermine B. Rubel; William Rubel; [Hans P. Kraus, Jr.]

  • Notes

    This daguerreotype depicts one of the earliest permanent displays of sculpture in America, at the Boston Athenaeum. At the center is a plaster cast of Diana of Versailles, and around it are a cast of Houdon's bust of Washington and another, possibly of Franklin.

  • See also
282045

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