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Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907)
Property from the Estate of Richard J. Schwartz
Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907)

Diana of the Tower

Details
Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907)
Diana of the Tower
inscribed 'DIANA OF THE TOWER' and '© A. SAINT GAUDENS MDCCCXCV' and stamped 'COPYRIGHT BY AUGUSTUS SAINT-GAUDENS MDCCCXCV' (along the base)
bronze with reddish-brown patina
21 5/8 in. (55 cm.) high, from top of head to toe; 36 7/8 in. (93.7 cm.) high, including bow and tripod base
Modeled circa 1895.
Provenance
Private collection, Fairfield, Texas.
Christie's, New York, 6 December 1991, lot 57, sold by the above.
Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Acquired by the late owner from the above, 1991.
Literature
J.H. Dryfhout, "Diana," Metamorphoses in Nineteenth Century Sculpture, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1975, pp. 201-13.
J.H. Dryfhout, The Works of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Hanover, New Hampshire, 1982, pp. 155, 194, 205-10, nos. 121, 144, 154, figs. 154-59, other examples illustrated.
K. Greenthal, Augustus Saint-Gaudens: Master Sculptor, Boston, Massachusetts, 1985, pp. 23, 138-41, pl. VIII, fig. 143, another example illustrated.
T. Tolles, ed., American Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 1, New York, 1999, pp. 308-09, no. 131, another example illustrated.
H.J. Duffy, J.H. Dryfhout, Augustus Saint-Gaudens: American Sculptor of the Gilded Age, exhibition catalogue, Washington, D.C., 2003, pp. 81-83, no. 43, another example illustrated.
T. Tolles, Augustus Saint-Gaudens in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2009, p. 34, fig. 42, another example illustrated.
Exhibited
Ithaca, New York, Cornell University, Johnson Museum of Art, 2016, on loan.

Lot Essay

The monumental figure of Diana was originally conceived in 1886 as a weathervane for the tower of Stanford White's Madison Square Garden. The eighteen-foot figure proved oversized, unwieldy and imbalanced and, in 1892, was removed from the site. The figure was then installed atop the McKim, Mead and White pavilion at the Columbian Exposition, where it was later partially burned in a fire.

Saint-Gaudens revised his model and, in 1894, a second version was placed on top of the Madison Square Garden tower. Thirteen feet high, it is now in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This landmark sculpture was so notorious and popular that Saint-Gaudens immediately copyrighted the model and produced an edition of hand-modeled reductions in two sizes with variations in detail such as the base, sphere, bow and hair. The 31-inch version was cast by Aubry Brothers foundry in 1895; only six casts are known in this size. The smaller reduction of 21 inches (the present size), often on an elaborate tripod base, was produced by several American and French foundries as early as 1894, and continued to be cast by Saint-Gaudens’ widow after the sculptor’s death.

Diana is one of Augustus Saint-Gaudens' most celebrated models and exhibits all of the hallmarks of the sculptor's strongest forms. The only model of a female nude that the artist ever created, Diana represents Saint-Gaudens’ innovative approach to a classical subject, which garnered him distinction as a leader of nineteenth-century American sculpture.

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