Artist: Daniel Chester French (American, Exeter, New Hampshire 1850–1931 Stockbridge, Massachusetts)

Date: 1886–87, revised 1909; carved 1917–19

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: 57 1/2 x 25 x 42 1/2 in. (146.1 x 63.5 x 108 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of Henry Walters, 1919

Accession Number: 19.47


For nearly fifty years, French included the allegorical female form in both his private and his public commissions. His involvement with Memory spanned over three decades, from his initial clay sketch of 1886 to the exhibition of this enlarged marble in 1919. The sculptor focused on conveying life’s transience through symbolism: the motif of the mirror as well as the work’s title suggests that the figure (and, by analogy, the viewer) is ruminating on the ephemeral nature of beauty, youth, and life. Memory was translated into Carrara marble by Piccirilli Brothers, the Bronx, New York, family firm responsible for carving many of French’s sculptures.