February 10 to May 20, 2018
The Currier will present the sculpture of Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907) in the first major exhibition of his work to be held in New England in more than 30 years. Saint-Gaudens was the most important American sculptor of the late 19th and early 20th century, and his monuments have become an integral part of our country’s historic narrative. The exhibition will present many of his large-scale masterpieces including Abraham Lincoln: The Man, the Adams Memorial, and Diana.
Saint-Gaudens transformed American sculpture by creating figures from recent history in heroic scale, with allegorical references, and in carefully designed settings. His monuments to heroes like Admiral Farragut and General Sherman defined America’s response to the Civil War. The Shaw Memorial took 14 years to complete and was the first public sculpture to depict heroic African-American soldiers of the Civil War. Saint-Gaudens’ Diana of 1893 was inspired by Greek and Roman sculpture and Renaissance art, but she became a beacon of modernity as the first sculpture to be illuminated by electric light as she balanced atop the tower on the newly erected Madison Square Garden in New York.
Saint-Gaudens achieved unprecedented international acclaim by exhibiting regularly in Europe, for example, winning the grand prize at the Paris International Exposition of 1900. During the height of his career the artist directed busy studios in Paris, Rome, and New York. But Saint-Gaudens was also a New Hampshire artist for much of his life, maintaining a studio in Cornish. He was the founding artist of the Cornish Colony where he summered beginning in 1885, and lived there year-round from 1900 until his death in 1907. His home and studios are now managed by the National Park Service and this exhibition is a collaboration with the Augustus Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site.