Rodman de Kay Gilder

Augustus Saint-Gaudens American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 773

In one of Saint-Gaudens’s earliest representations of childhood’s innocence, the cherubic head of Rodman de Kay Gilder (1877-1953) floats on a field of bronze. Saint-Gaudens excerpted this head study of the toddler from portrait of Richard Watson Gilder’s family completed several months earlier (2002.445). Saint-Gaudens’s love of technical experimentation in his sculpture is evident in the scumbled treatment of hair and clothing resembling thickly-applied painted pigment, the wispy horizontal striations of the background recalling etching, and the cornice-like architectural element above. Saint-Gaudens was particularly pleased by the quality of this bronze, which he "cast on this side of the ‘Pond’" (rather than in Paris), at a time when the American art bronze casting industry was coming of age.

Rodman de Kay Gilder, Augustus Saint-Gaudens (American, Dublin 1848–1907 Cornish, New Hampshire), Bronze, American

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