New York, Park Avenue
4 December 1996
Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1869-1943)
'Diana of the Tower', A Bronze Female Figure
inscribed 'AUGUSTUS SAINT GAUDEN' (sic) and 'COPYRIGHT BY A SAINT GAUDENS MDCCCXCV'
39¼in. (99.7cm.) high from the top of the bow and including the self-bronze hemisphere and base [31½in. (80cm.) high from the top of her hair to her toes], weathered blackish brown patina with extensive verdigris
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J.H. Dryfhout, Metamorphoses in Nineteenth Century Sculpture, 1975, pp. 201-213
J.H. Dryfhout, The Work of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Hanover, 1982, pp. 155, 194, 205-210, cat. nos. 121, 144, 154
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 pavillion at the Columbian Exposition, where it was 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. A mere thirteen feet high, it is now in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This landmark sculpture was so notorious and popular that Saint-Gaudens immediately copyrighted the model and produced an edition of hand-modelled reductions in two sizes with variations in details such as the base, sphere, bow and hair.
The first version (the present size) was cast by Aubry Brothers foundry in 1895 and only a few examples were made (6 other casts recorded). A smaller reduction (21 cm.) often on elaborate tripod base was cast in a larger edition by both French and American foundries.
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