A quintessential example of Augustus Saint-Gaudens' Beaux-Arts style, Amor Caritas, which translates to "Angel of Charity", is derived from several earlier commissions incorporating draped female figures, and portraits of the artist's favorite model Davida Clark. Among these are his 1879-80 project for the Edwin D. Morgan tomb which was never completed, his 1881-83 caryatid figures for a mantlepiece in Cornelius Vanderbilt II's New York mansion, and the design of 1887 for the Ann Maria Smith tomb at the Island Cemetary, Newport, Rhode Island.
Dissatisfied with the translation into stone of his design for the Smith tomb, and inspired by John Singer Sargent's praise of the model, Saint-Gaudens reworked his design in 1898. Amor Caritas was exhibited at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 where it was awarded the Grand Prize. The French government purchased a bronze cast of this relief for the Luxembourg Museum--a great honor for an American artist. In 1918, an example was cast in gilt-bronze for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Saint-Gaudens cast approximately twenty reductions of Amor Caritas in response to the Salon reception and to the public's enthusiasm for the model. These were marketed in New York by Tiffany & Co. and in Boston by Doll & Richards. Additional examples of the present work are in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Cleveland Museum and the Detroit Institute of Arts.