As loyal fans know, PBS is not all nature programs and the latest Ken Burns film. Last night's first treat was rock star Sting and lutenist Edin Karamazov performing 400-yr-old songs by Elizabethan composer John Dowland, from the album "Sting - Songs from the Labyrinth".
But my ears really perked up at the next program, about Irish-born American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907) and the artist colony he founded in Cornish, New Hampshire, after wife Augusta (nee Homer) tired of the social whirl and attention that always surrounded "Gus" in New York City.
A friend offered to rent them a run-down former inn in Cornish, but Augusta's peace and quiet in the country was short-lived when many in the NYC art community followed her talented husband to Cornish and nearby towns.
The Cornish Colony, btw, pre-dates (by about fifteen years) the Old Lyme Art Colony featured here last year that grew out of Miss Florence Griswold's boarding house in Lyme, Connecticut.
But I digress...
If, like me, you'd never heard of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, chances are you've at least seen some of his incredible work.
(left)Saint-Gaudens with the completed clay model of "Standing Lincoln" before it was cast in bronze and installed in Chicago's Lincoln Park.
(I don't recall seeing its twin in the park across from Parliament in London, but then I wasn't looking for statues of Honest Abe in London.)
showing Shaw leading the Afro-American
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.
Originally the memorial was to be completed in two years,
but it took perfectionist Saint-Gaubens almost fourteen.
(This photo doesn't do justice to the detail in it.)
Statues and memorials by Saint-Gaudens dot the New York City landscape, but because of his long association with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, many of his works can be found there too.
Perhaps the most famous is his only nude, the bronze "Diana", which originally was a weather vane atop Madison Square Garden until prudish Victorian-era New Yorkers complained and it was moved to MMoA.
The Saint-Gaudens piece most Americans will recognize, however, even if only from a replica, is the rare 1933 Double Eagle $20 gold coin. Considered the master of bas relief sculpture, he designed it for the U.S. Mint circa 1905-07.
- Cornish Colony Museum, Windsor VT
- Home of a Gilded Age Icon
- A small gallery of S-G's works at Wikipedia
- Last summer's post about Old Lyme's Art Colony
Have a great day!