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Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Saint-Gaudens, Augustus (sānt-gôdˈənz) [key], 1848–1907, American sculptor, b. Dublin, Ireland. His family immigrated to New York when he was an infant. An apprentice in cameo cutting at 13, he gained mastery over low-relief sculpture. He had an unusual genius for plastic expression and an unfailing enthusiasm and industry. He studied drawing at Cooper Institute (now Cooper Union) and the National Academy of Design. Moving (1867) to Paris, he was trained at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and gained knowledge of the Italian Renaissance from his stay (1870–75) in Italy. He returned to America where his statue of Admiral Farragut (1881) for Madison Square, N.Y.C., set a new standard for public monuments and made Saint-Gaudens one the foremost Beaux-Arts sculptors in the United States and a strong influence in the development of American sculpture. Stanford White collaborated on the pedestal for this figure and several others. In 1887 the figure of Lincoln in Lincoln Park, Chicago, was completed. Other works that followed are Deacon Samuel Chapin ( The Puritan ), Springfield, Mass.; the Shaw Memorial, Boston Common; General Logan, Chicago; General Sherman, entrance to Central Park, New York City; and the seated Lincoln for the Chicago lakefront. Of the portrait tablets and plaques, most notable are Dr. McCosh, Princeton, N.J.; Robert Louis Stevenson for St. Giles, Edinburgh, Scotland; and charming low reliefs of children. Among his idealized figures is the veiled Adams Memorial, Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C., one of his most splendid works.

See his portrait reliefs (1969); biography by L. H. Tharp (1969). His brother, Louis, 1854–1913, was also a sculptor of talent.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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