Mary Justina de Peyster

George Edwin Bissell American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

Bissell was commissioned to execute this bust of Mary Justina de Peyster (1802–1821) by her son, John Watts de Peyster. One of many portraits that Bissell undertook for the de Peyster family, it appears to be the only extant likeness of a female family member that the sculptor completed. Bissell apparently carved the marble about 1887 and seems to have had a painted portrait of the long-deceased sitter at his disposal for reference. Bissell’s marble wavers between extremes of rigid neoclassicism and Beaux-Arts naturalism. He clearly delighted in such details as the aquiline nose, beaded hair comb, and corsage of blossoms. The surface is enlivened by the sweeping scrollwork on the rococo-revival cartouche and the curve of the shoulder termination.

Mary Justina de Peyster, George Edwin Bissell (American, New Preston, Connecticut  1839–1920 Mount Vernon, New York), Marble, American

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