Augustus Saint-Gaudens American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 700

Saint-Gaudens’s three years of study in Paris came to an abrupt end with the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. He left for Rome in late 1870 and soon began Hiawatha, his first full-length statue, inspired by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem "The Song of Hiawatha" (1855). Seated on a rock in a contemplative pose, with his quiver of arrows and bow nearby, the fictional Ojibwe chief is "pondering, musing in the forest /On the welfare of his people," as an excerpt from Longfellow’s verse inscribed on the base declares. Saint-Gaudens was one of many artists who drew thematic inspiration from the poet's "Hiawatha," reinforcing the stereotype of the "vanishing" Native American.

Read a Native Perspective on this work.

Hiawatha, Augustus Saint-Gaudens (American, Dublin 1848–1907 Cornish, New Hampshire), Marble, American

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.