Augustus Saint–Gaudens (American, 18481907)
Marble; 16 1/2 x 17 x 4 1/2 in. (41.9 x 43.2 x 11.4 cm)
Bequest of Charles W. Gould, 1931 (32.62.1)
The sitter for this portrait bust, Louise Adele Gould (1856–1883), was the wife of Charles W. Gould, a prominent New York lawyer and trustee of the Metropolitan Museum. Gould married Louise Dickerson in 1881; she lived only until 1883 and he never remarried. At Gould's request, Saint-Gaudens modeled three posthumous portraits (15.105.1,2). Soon after Saint-Gaudens modeled his first bust of Mrs. Gould in 1894, Charles Gould added that the sculptor produce wax replicas. Herbert Adams, a friend of Gould and Saint-Gaudens who was known for his application of color in sculpture, tinted a wax, an effort Gould later termed "remarkably successful." In 1904, Gould wrote Saint-Gaudens that "[b]oth [the marble bust and the subsequent wax] are perfectly charming, but I think I would like a marble made like the wax, and you too thought it would look very well." This was the genesis of the present marble, which differs from the earlier bust in the extension of the sitter's shoulders and the horizontal termination. For this second portrait bust, Gould suggested to Saint-Gaudens that Adams "color the new marble," probably hoping, in this way, to have an ever more lifelike portrait of his long-dead wife. In the end, there is no evidence Adams was engaged to tint Saint-Gaudens' marble and the only concession to color is the yellow variegated marble base.