Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • Little Ida, 1869; this carving, 1881
    Charles Calverley (American, 1833–1914)
    Marble; 17 x 13 in. (43.2 x 33 cm)
    Gift of the sculptor through F. Byrne–Ivy, 1904 (04.38.2)

    P>Calverley modeled Ida's profile in low relief either in Albany or soon after his arrival in New York City in December 1868. Perhaps she was the daughter of an acquaintance of a household servant in his or a friend's home in Albany. It is equally plausible that Ida was someone Calverley met after he established his New York studio. Stylistically the relief may be considered a transition from the idealized compositions of Italian-based American sculptors to the more realistic handling of French-trained artists. While the marble medium, vacant pupils, and strict profile are hallmarks of Neoclassicism, the portrait itself is straightforward and devoid of symbolism. Calverley absorbed his mentor Erastus Dow Palmer's strong naturalistic bent, and thus the sitter's individualized African American features, bandanna-wrapped head, and soft wisps of hair at her ear are truthfully portrayed. The complicated passages in the folds in the back of the bandanna, and particularly the knot at its front, demonstrate an assured handling of the marble medium. Certain anecdotal details, such as the slight twist of the string of beads and the unbuttoned collar, add a naturalistic touch.

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    On view: Gallery 762
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  • Little Ida, 1869

    this carving, 1881
    Charles Calverley (American, 1833–1914)
    Marble

    17 x 13 in. (43.2 x 33 cm)
    Gift of the sculptor through F. Byrne-Ivy, 1904 (04.38.2)


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